Fusing the concept of a classic French onion soup with iconic Mac n cheese not only sounds amazing but BOY was the end result a true stunner of a dish!!!
Lots and lots of slowly caramelised onions and fresh herbs are combined with two types of cheese and classic béchamel sauce before everything is mixed in with the pasta.
Top this combo with some toasted baguette slices rubbed with garlic and more cheese, grill the whole thing in the oven and you get the most incredibly bubbling cheesy tray of goodness that is perfect to feed a hungry crowd at any dinner party.
Even better the whole thing can be pre-made before your guests arrive so all the flavour, none of the kitchen stress!
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1.5kg white onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more thyme leaves for garnish
- 1fresh bay leaf
- Black pepper
- 500g of your chosen pasta shape
- 1/2 baguette, cut into ½-inch slices
- 1garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 350g Gruyère, grated
- 400g medium mature Cheddar, grated
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. (If you’re planning to bake the macaroni and cheese in a baking dish instead of a frying pan, butter a baking tray.)
- Meanwhile, in a deep, large (12-inch) frying pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions, thyme sprigs and bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper.
- Cover with a lid, baking sheet or foil and cook, stirring once or twice, until the onions are softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Uncover and continue to cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
- If the onions look dry, add a few tablespoons of water at a time to prevent them from burning, scraping up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. (You will need to do this several times.)
- While the onions are cooking, heat the oven to 220 degrees.
- Cook the pasta in the boiling water until 2 minutes shy of al dente; drain and set aside.
- Toast the baguette slices until just golden then rub one side of each baguette slice with garlic.
- When the onions are a deep golden brown, discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and remove them from the pan, set aside.
- Deglaze the pan with the vinegar until evaporated, scraping up browned bits as you go, about 30 seconds.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
- When melted, add the flour and cook, stirring, until the flour begins to stick to the bottom of the pan and has turned a light golden brown, about 3 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the milk and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a simmer, whisking often.
- Reserve 1 cup of the Gruyère.
- Carefully add the onion, remaining Gruyère and all the Cheddar to the mixture and stir until melted.
- If your pan is big enough, add the cooked pasta and stir to combine, or combine the sauce and pasta in the prepared tray.
- Spread the pasta mixture in an even layer in the prepared dish, then top with the baguette slices, garlic-side up.
- Sprinkle the toasts with the reserved 1 cup Gruyère and season with pepper.
- Place the tray in the oven on a middle rack and bake until bubbly and brown in spots, 10 to 15 minutes.
- If you like a crispier top, broil for a few minutes.
- Let cool slightly, then garnish with fresh thyme leaves AND ENJOY!