Monday, February 14, 2011

Benedictine Mac & Cheese with Caramelized Onions & Rosemary

If the way to someone's heart is really through his/her stomach, then this post is probably as good as a love potion when it comes to enchanting and delighting your beloved.  Although macaroni & cheese might be a bit heavy to serve as a Valentine's Day dinner, it's the perfect dinner for a chilly winter weekend when you can't think of anything better than snuggling up on the couch with a glass of wine and your lover.

Serve this delicious pasta with a crisp green salad and a glass of a nice full red wine. Either an earthy red Bordeaux or a spicy, fruit-forward Zinfandel would pair very nicely.

This post is featured as part of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board's 2nd Annual 30 Days 30 Ways with Macaroni & Cheese. Be sure to give them a visit and check out all the other scrumptious recipes created by food bloggers around the nation using Wisconsin cheese. 

If you conjure your fondest childhood memories of macaroni and cheese, what do you envision?
A steaming bowl of creamy stovetop pasta graced with American cheese?
Baked macaroni & cheese with scads of gooey sharp cheddar & a sprinkling of crispy bread crumbs?
Or how about a serving of that ever-popular electric orange macaroni & cheese from a box?

Regardless of your specific orientation to the dish, macaroni and cheese remains one of the most popular—if not the most popular—American comfort foods.

As a result, there are hundreds of recipes for mac and cheese out there.  And you must trust us when I tell you that we’ve tried most of them.  At heart, we’re big fans of simple, old fashioned macaroni and cheese.  However, we also really like venturing out and coming up with great new flavor combinations for this classic dish.  And this version is one of our favorites so far.
Imagine sweet slices of perfectly caramelized onion paired with the earthy and slightly piney flavor of fresh rosemary and the pleasantly toasted notes of whole wheat elbows. 

Now imagine those ingredients cloaked in a fantastically creamy sauce made from Carr Valley Benedictine cheese – a delightful and intensely nutty washed rind cheese made from a combination of sheep, goat, and cow’s milk.
While this somewhat inventive version of the popular dish will probably not take you back to your mom’s kitchen, I promise it will give you that same creamy dreamy comfort food feeling in the depths of your belly.

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Want more? Read Lo's latest ruminations at FOODCrush, her Milwaukee Magazine blog.


  1. Oh my, yes. I'm imagining. I'm imagining. My Paul grew up on that boxed Kraft Mac and Cheese and still likes it. With hot dogs. *shudder* I'll take a bowl full of your version, thankyouverymuch.

  2. I knew you guys would deliver in this challenge. That mac and cheese looks amazing. I love using rosemary in mac and cheese but had never thought of using caramelized onions.

  3. Love that you used whole wheat elbows... reminds me I need to give whole wheat pasta another chance. Sounds like a lovely combination! Plus, I think caramelized onions are the bacon of the vegetable world.

  4. Is there such a thing as "too heavy" on V Day? Doubtful. This looks lusciously divine. Definitely the key to my heart.

  5. For me it has to be a baked mac & cheese & lately also have caramelized onions, perfect! We've been using Carr Valley cheese in ours too.

  6. I always loved mac & cheese and I’m definitely going to give this a try. I hope I’ll impress my Valentine with it. Thanks for sharing this incredible recipe. It looks awesome.

  7. @Margie -- I couldn't agree with you more. I think I could eat caramelized onions on just about anything. Seriously.

  8. Oh yum! I want some of that. The caramelized onions are to die for here!

    I hated mac and cheese as a kid. No good childhood memories there. It's funny, I didn't like pizza either and I think it's because my earliest memories of pizza and M&C were of the frozen/boxed variety. I think I just hated the taste of cheap/fake cheese.

  9. Mmmm caramelized onions.

    I have no childhood memory save for the Kraft Dinner. I never tasted homemade macaroni and cheese until a few years ago. *Gasp* I know, I know.

  10. I think anytime is really a good time for mac and cheese and this looks perfect for the occasion. I can smell and taste it already with the cheese and onions/rosemary. Fantstic!

  11. Mac and cheese *and* caramelized onions--yum. I could easily eat a whole pan of this.

  12. I've never been into mac and cheese. I just never seem to "get it". But this looks amazing. I need to try before summer comes around. Thanks for the inspiring recipe and photos!

  13. I never need an arm twisting to enjoy a plate of Mac a cheese any way it's cooked. This versions sounds great -- we love caramelized onions :)


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