Dinner, Pasta / Grains

Mac and Two Cheeses with Caramelized Shallots

Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Shallots

Much like my cookies, I like my Mac and Cheese to be rich, thick, and creamy. This recipe is more like a thin and crispy cookie, but I can still appreciate it for what it is – a quick and easy baked macaroni and cheese dish with good flavors that a lot of people will prefer. The caramelized shallots are really delicious and the addition of hot sauce gives this pasta a unique flare. Truth be told, the goat cheese topping was my favorite part. It’s hard to pass up anything covered in goat cheese though, right? Plus, like most casseroles, it tasted even better on day two.

What I’d like to do next time is utilize the addition of shallots, hot sauce, and the goat cheese topping in my traditional bechamel based macaroni and cheese recipe. That way I’d have all of the sassy flavors in a more substantial and hearty sauce.

Mac and Two Cheeses with Caramelized Shallots
Adapted from the December 2008 issue of Bon Appétit magazine

3 tablespoons butter plus more for baking dish
3 cups sliced large shallots (about 6)
8 oz small elbow macaroni (2 cups)
1 1/4 cups half and half
2 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce (such as Cholula) Note: I used Frank’s Red Hot since that’s all I had.
2 cups (packed) coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2/3 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, covered, until shallots are deep brown, stirring often, about 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook macaroni in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally; drain well. Reserve pan.

Bring half and half and hot sauce to simmer in same saucepan over medium heat. Toss cheddar cheese and flour in medium bowl to coat; add to half and half mixture. Whisk until sauce is smooth and just returns to simmer, about 2 minutes.

Spread pasta mixture in prepared dish. Top with shallots, then goat cheese. Sprinkle with pepper. Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.