12 ounces shredded Emmentaler or Jarlsberg (something mild, basically — I liked adding Gruyère for extra flavor!)
parsley and/or chives, finely chopped
Cooke the spätzle if you haven’t already (16 min. in salted water according to the package)
Caramelize the onions. Don’t let them burn (this can take up to 30 min. to brown slowly).
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Caramelize the onions in a pan (I used a little olive oil and butter for this).
Butter a 9×13 (or a little smaller) casserole dish. Once the butter starts to melt, add some flour, stock cube, and Dijon mustard. Add a bit of milk if you have some, season with salt and pepper, and mix the paste well.
Layer 1/3 of the Spätzle in the bottom of the dish followed by 1/3 of the cheese and 1/3 of the caramelized onions. Repeat, sprinkling each layer with some salt, ending with cheese and onions on top.
Bake for 10 minutes or longer until the cheese is melted and the edges are just beginning to get a little crispy.
So many times I ate this in southern Germany. I lived in the state of Baden-Württemberg, so there was loads of Swabian influence. Schwäbisch! This was a lot of work — I see why Kraft Macaroni and Cheese exists as a product. I forgot to get the chives! Facepalm. 1 organic yellow onion $0.74, 0.42 lbs. Emmental $6.30, 0.26 lbs. Gruyere $5.72, and 6 oz. Jarlsberg $5.99 from Whole Foods.
½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or ¼ tsp fried rosemary (optional)
225 g Stilton cheese, grated
200 g Gruyere or Cheddar cheese, grated
30g of Parmesan
Pinch of Cayenne pepper or 20g of Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly-milled black pepper
15 basil leaves
Start by cooking some pasta of your choice in a pan of boiling water. Once cooked, strain the pasta and set aside
Place 50 mL milk into a pan over a low-medium heat and add the thyme and bay. Bring up to a warm heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place a separate pan over a low heat and add the 4 tbsp. butter and 4 cloves of garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the flour. Heat for for 2-3 minutes and stir constantly so the mixture comes together. –> Béchamel sauce
Strain the milk, thyme and bay mixture so that you are just left with the infused milk. Gradually (over 5 minutes) add the infused milk to the other pan and stir with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer
Take the pan off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the cheese, mustard, basil and pasta to the pan and then pour the contents of the pan into a casserole dish. Cover with some extra cheese and place in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes (I prefer stovetop because I haven’t a baking dish currently).
Remove the dish from the oven, divide the macaroni cheese into 4 portions and serve immediately.
My grandmother gave me a box of instant mac and cheese from her senior citizen community center (before the pandemic lockdown). Of course I didn’t want to eat that stuff straight, so I thought I would try to dress it up with some caramelized onions, garlic, herbs, and whatever else I might find in the pantry.