Saturday, July 19, 2008

French Onion "Soup" Mac and Cheese

"This recipe is by Brett Greenberg, New York, NY. I found it HERE . It won a recipe contest. It looked kind of complicated, so I have had it in my "favorites" for a long time, but I finally decided to make it. I absolutely love french onion soup (check back for a recipe for that in the future), so this sounded fabulous to me. I am posting it "as is", but please check my notes at the bottom."


INGREDIENTS:

Topping:

1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bechamel Sauce:

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces Gruyere, grated
3 ounces mozzarella grated

French Onion "Soup":

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 large white onions, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons honey
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry sherry
2 cups beef stock
8 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

1 pound pasta, cooked al dente (elbow macaroni, ziti, or fusilli work well)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Topping: Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl and set aside.

Bechamel Sauce: Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and stir to combine. Stir constantly, for about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium and whisk in the milk or half-and-half, adding a little at a time and cook until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Lower heat, season with the salt and pepper and add Gruyere and mozzarella cheeses. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Set aside.

French Onion "Soup:" Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add onions, cover, and cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove cover, add garlic and honey, and continue to cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Remove pot from heat and add sherry. Return to heat and stir to remove browned bits from bottom of pan. Reduce sherry by half, then add stock and thyme and cook until almost all liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat.

Grease a 9x13 dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine cooked pasta with onion "soup" mixture and bechamel sauce, and stir well to combine. Transfer pasta to baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumb/Parmesan topping.
Bake until top is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Notes:

-This recipe took me much longer to make than the listed 1 hour and 45 minutes. It took me all of that time just to prepare. One thing I would recommend is to make the bechamel sauce while the onions are cooking (which I didn't do). You could also grate the cheese earlier in the day (which I did). When I was cooking the onions the first time it took about 17 minutes. When I cooked them until carmelized it took about 25 minutes instead of 10-15. It also takes a while to cook down the sherry and beef stock.

-I have never used fresh thyme, so I didn't know if I was suppose to throw in the leaves with stems and leave them in, or maybe strain them out, so instead I pulled all of the leaves off (time consuming). I would definately use dried thyme next time.

1 comment:

ambrosialove said...

I've had this recipe saved for quite some time, but have never made it. Actually, I purchased the ingredients for it, but I ended up eating the cheese before I got around to making it. I definitely need to give it a whirl though!