If you remember when I was last chatting with you all, I told you about the amazing dinner we had at Geranium in Copenhagen. One of our favorite dishes was this Hay Cheese Soup with Pickled Onions and Bread Crumbs.
Matt thought it was a fantasic inspiration for a macaroni and cheese. He was so right, though perhaps it is not as refined a version. This could top the list as my favorite version of our homemade mac and cheese. The pickled onions add such a wonderful bite against the creamy cheese while the pumpernickel bread crumbs add crunch and a toasty flavor.
It is really quite an easy dish to make, you just have to remember to pickle the onions ahead of time. I like to do them in the morning for that night's dinner. The longer they sit in the brine the more pickled they will get.
Macaroni and Cheese with Pickled Onions
1/2 c white vinegar
1 1/2 T sugar
1/8 t crushed red pepper
1/4 t salt
1 c sliced onion
In a small microwave safe bowl heat the vinegar, sugar, red pepper & salt in the microwave on high for about one minute. Stir until the sugar & salt are dissolved. Put in a jar or plastic container. Add the onions & stir to combine. Refrigerate covered for at least 30 minutes. They get stronger the longer they sit.
Macaroni and Cheese
3/4 lb spiral macaroni
1 Tbs unsalted butter + extra for the top
1/8 C flour
1 C milk
1/2 C heavy cream
9oz mild cheese, chopped into small pieces (we wanted to use Vlaskaas, a Dutch cheese made with flax, but it was out of season, so we went when a young gouda instead. Graskaas made when the cows eat the fresh spring grass would be fabulous too.)
pinch dry mustard
pumpernickel bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cook pasta according to directions drain and set aside.
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.
Drain the pickled onions. Mic the cooked pasta, cheese sauce and pickled onions together. Spoon into a casserole dish. Top with pumpernickel bread crumbs and scatter a few small pats of butter around the top.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Makes 4 - 5 servings
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