I told Matt I'd cook him anything he wanted for dinner on his birthday & he said the first thing that came to mind was homemade Mac & Cheese. The addition of gryere or blue cheese, carmelized onions and cherry tomatoes makes this a grown up version of the classic.
Grown Up Mac & Cheese
3/4 lb spiral macaroni
1 medium onion
1 Tbs butter
1/8 C flour
1 C milk
1/2 C heavy cream
1 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
3/4 C grated gryere (if you are a fan of blue cheese this recipe is also fabulous with a good blue cheese like Maytag)
1 C sweet grape tomatoes
Cook pasta according to directions drain and set aside.
Heat a small skillet over low heat. Slice onion very thin. Add onion to skillet and saute slowly until brown and carmelized. Mix into pasta.
In a small saucepan melt butter over med-low heat. Add flour an stir constantly for 1 minute. Do not allow to brown. Slowly whisk in milk and cream. Stir until hot and smooth and slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Turn heat to low and add cheese. Whisk until melted. Add a pinch of dry mustard and salt and pepper to taste.
Butter a glass casserole dish. Add pasta, onions, cherry tomatoes and cheese sauce. Mix well until cheese sauce covers everything. Sprinkle panko over the top.
Cook in a 350 oven for 25 minutes.