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French Onion Mac & Cheese

French Onion Mac & Cheese: A Fusion of Comforting Classics

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Are you a fan of classic French onion soup and creamy macaroni and cheese? If so, get ready to indulge in the ultimate comfort food fusion with our French Onion Mac & Cheese recipe! This delightful dish combines the rich flavors of caramelized onions, gooey cheese, and savory bacon with tender macaroni, creating a decadent and satisfying meal that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a cozy dinner party or simply craving a hearty and delicious dish, this recipe is sure to impress. So, let’s dive into the details and learn how to make this mouthwatering masterpiece!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of macaroni, boiled and strained
  • 6 pieces of bacon, prepared and fragmented
  • ¼ cup of salted butter, split
  • 1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 7 ounces of shredded gruyere cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups of whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Prepare the Ingredients:

  1. Boil the macaroni according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon until crispy, then chop or crumble it into small pieces. Set aside.
  3. Quarter the onion and thinly slice it. Mince the garlic cloves. Shred the gruyere cheese if not already shredded.

2. Caramelize the Onions:

  1. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and caramelized, about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Make the Cheese Sauce:

  1. In a separate saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
  2. Whisk in the flour to create a roux, cooking for 1-2 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Slowly pour in the heavy cream and whole milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
  4. Cook the sauce until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Stir in the shredded gruyere cheese until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Combine and Bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked macaroni, caramelized onions, and bacon pieces.
  3. Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated.
  4. Transfer the mac and cheese mixture to a greased baking dish.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown on top.

5. Serve and Enjoy:

  1. Remove the French Onion Mac & Cheese from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving.
  2. Garnish with additional shredded gruyere cheese and chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
  3. Serve hot and enjoy the irresistible combination of flavors and textures!

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Vegetarian Option: Omit the bacon for a vegetarian-friendly version of this dish. You can also add caramelized mushrooms or roasted vegetables for added depth of flavor.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free macaroni and substitute gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • Extra Cheesy: For cheese lovers, add extra shredded gruyere or mix in some shredded mozzarella or fontina cheese for an even cheesier mac & cheese.
  • Spice it Up: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce for a spicy kick.

Keto and Low-Carb Version:

To make a keto-friendly and low-carb version of French Onion Mac & Cheese, consider the following modifications:

  • Substitute Pasta: Replace the macaroni with cooked cauliflower florets or zucchini noodles (zoodles) to reduce the carb content.
  • Use Keto-Friendly Flours: Use almond flour or coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour to thicken the cheese sauce.
  • Reduce Dairy: Use heavy cream and full-fat cheese, but in moderation, to keep the dish keto-friendly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use a different type of cheese? A: Yes, feel free to experiment with different types of cheese, such as sharp cheddar, Swiss, or fontina, based on your personal preference.

Q: Can I make this recipe ahead of time? A: Absolutely! You can assemble the French Onion Mac & Cheese in advance and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Simply cover the baking dish with foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, remove the foil and bake as directed.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers? A: Yes, you can freeze leftover French Onion Mac & Cheese for up to 2-3 months. Allow the dish to cool completely, then transfer individual portions to freezer-safe containers or zip-top bags. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

Q: Can I omit the onions? A: While caramelized onions add a rich flavor to the dish, you can omit them if you prefer or if you have dietary restrictions.

In conclusion, French Onion Mac & Cheese is a delightful twist on two beloved comfort foods, combining the savory goodness of French onion soup with the creamy indulgence of macaroni and cheese. With its rich flavors, gooey cheese, and crispy bacon, this dish is sure to become a family favorite. Whether you’re serving it as a side dish or a main course, this recipe is perfect for cozy dinners, holiday gatherings, or anytime you’re craving a comforting and satisfying meal. So, gather your ingredients and give this delicious recipe a try – you won’t be disappointed!

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