Baked Mac 'N Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Duck Sausage

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 Servings
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Ingredients

1 pound or 500 g rotini pasta

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 red onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Pinch sea salt

1 cup cured duck sausage, diced

1 cup milk

1 cup half-and-half

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup brie cheese, rind removed

1 cup grated 5-year old Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated Friulano or Fontina cheese

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs

1 tablespoon melted butter

Pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Parboil the rotini pasta in boiling salted water for 8 minutes, and strain.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, add the sliced onions and a pinch of sea salt to the pan and saute for 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and saute for another 35 minutes, or until caramelized.
  3. Render the sausage in a dry pan over medium heat for 10 minutes, until crispy bits form. Add milk, half-and- half, caramelized onions, sea salt, and ground pepper and bring to a boil. The second the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, add the Cheddar cheese, Friulano cheese, and bay leaf and stir until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
  4. In a bowl, mix the cooked rotini pasta with the cheese sauce and transfer into a baking dish. Top with the panko bread crumbs, drizzle with melted butter and broil for a few minutes, or until the panko is golden brown and the edges crisp up.