Fancy Mac and Cheese with Apples

adult apple mac and cheeseI love mac and cheese. Not the crappy boxed stuff that I liked when I was a kid…real, adult mac and cheese.

Okay, I still eat the crappy boxed stuff from time. But I drink wine when I do, so that makes up for it, right?

Anyway, when I saw this pin, a recipe originally from Tide and Thyme for hard cider macaroni and cheese, I knew I had to try it. Who doesn’t love fancy mac and cheese? I have a love affair with apples, and I really enjoy the combination of crunchy apples with sharp cheese. Plus, a recipe that includes hard cider? Yes please! I will give the wine a day off for some good hard cider (I had Angry Orchard on hand, which is delish, but I’m an even bigger fan of Magner’s).

This is a great recipe, so it gets the PinterTest Kitchen seal of approval…but I do think I will make a few changes to the recipe the next time I make it.

To make this recipe, you need pasta (I like the shells and cheese combo because they scoop up the flavor, but just about anything will work), hard cider, half & half, butter, an apple, an onion, flour, and your favorite sharp cheese, shredded.

fancy mac and cheese ingredients

Start by cooking your pasta in a large pot of boiling water until it is just barely done. You’re going to bake this, so it should be more al dente then you normally would make your pasta. Drain and set aside.

While that’s happening, peel and dice the apple and onion. I like to use my Vidalia Chop Wizard, because it makes the pieces tiny and uniform in just a few minutes.

chop wizard

It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools of all time. And no, they aren’t paying me to say that! I legit LOVE my chop wizard. You can pick one up here if you don’t have one. (Disclosure: that’s an affiliate link.)

I chopped an entire apple and an entire onion, though the original recipe did call for a small onion and mine was on the big side. The result was just way too onion-y for my taste. I don’t really like onion, other than mixed into recipes like this in some cases. A few might be fine, but when I make this again, I’m definitely going to use just half an onion.

Next, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the apples and onions cook for 10ish minutes until the onions are translucent. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat as your cook for another 2 minutes.

apples and onions cooking

Take your time and really cook the apples and onions to get the full flavors to come out. This is fancy mac and cheese, people! It is worth your time!

Add the hard cider and half & half. Start whisking and don’t stop! This is high maintenance gourmet mac and cheese. I promise it will be worth it, though. Once it starts to bubble, add the shredded cheese. Well, most of it. Save a little to sprinkle on top.

DSC01259

I used two different kinds of sharp cheese in mine, because what’s life without a little risk? Also because I had a coupon for 8 ounces of the one variety and the other was on sale.

Once everything has melted into a delicious, gooey, chunky sauce, pour it over the pasta in a large baking dish. Add the rest of the cheese to the top and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. It will look like this when it comes out of the oven:

baked apple mac and cheese

Yum. Seriously, y’all. Yum. Apple mac and cheese might sound a little weird, but this stuff is delicious.

apple mac and cheese

Here’s the printable if you want to make fancy mac and cheese for your family:

Fancy Mac and Cheese with Apples
Recipe type: Entree
 
Ingredients
  • 2.5 cups dried pasta (I like shells)
  • 1 cup hard cider (Magner's, Angry Orchard, Woodchuck, etc.)
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 apple
  • 1 small onion
  • 16 ounces sharp cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta until it is just barely done. Drain and add to a large baking dish.
  2. Dice the apple and onion.
  3. Melt the butter over medium heat and add the apples and onions. Cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add flour and stir continuously to coat for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the hard cider and half & half. Cook until bubbling.
  6. Add ¾ of the shredded cheese and cook until it is melted.
  7. Pour the sauce over the pasta and top with the remaining cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

 

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Allison is one of the co-founders here at The PinterTest Kitchen. She also works as a content marketing consultant and freelance writer - find out more at AllisonBoyer.com.

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