Macaroni and Cheese: Part II

I love shallots.

These little guys, once reserved for intricate dishes, have found their way into every day recipes. Where I might have chopped onions to mix with ground beef for burgers, I mince shallots instead. They make for a unique pizza topping and add a sharpness to chicken marsala.

A member of the onion family, the shallot has gained notoriety thanks to Emeril Lagasse and Giada DiLaurentiis, celebrity chefs who feature the ingredient in their cookbooks and television shows. The freshest shallots are subtle in their sharpness and sweetness, contrasting the bold, in-your-face bit of an onion.

I immediately cooked this version of macaroni and cheese when I saw the recipe in the December 2008 edition of Bon Appetit. It brought the shallot together with one of my favorite flavors — goat cheese. I made a couple of little tweaks to this recipe, eliminating the hot sauce (I have to get the wife to eat it) and increasing the amount of shallot and goat cheese (I don’t believe you can get too much of a good thing). The flavor is unique, for sure. The earthy goat cheese contrasts the sweet kick from the shallots and the salty cheddar. It’s quite a dish.

Mac & Cheese with Caramelized Shallots
Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 3 tb butter
  • 8 shallots, sliced
  • 10 oz macaroni
  • 1 1/4 cup half and half
  • 2 cup grated extra sharp cheddar
  • 1 1/2 tb flour
  • 1 cup goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 and butter an 11x7x2 baking dish.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sprinkle with s&p. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir. Cook covered until shallots are a deep brown (6 minutes).

Cook pasta and drain.

Bring half and half to a simmer over medium. Mix cheese and flour, and add to the half and half. Whisk until sauce is smooth and returns to simmer. Add pasta and s&p and stir. Spread in baking dish, top with shallots and goat cheese. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

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