Gourmet

Apple, Sausage and Dijon Mac and Cheese

This flavorful mac and cheese combines Wisconsin sharp white cheddar with tart Granny Smith apples, sausage and subtle hints of mustard to create a dish that won't last long on the dining room table.

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Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces breakfast sausage, casings removed and coined
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk, room temperature
  • 4 cups (1 pound) Wisconsin sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F.

Melt butter in medium Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add breakfast sausage and sauté about 7 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove and set aside. Leave sausage drippings in pot.

Reduce heat to low and add flour to pan drippings. Stir until very thick, dry mixture forms.

Add milk 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly until smooth and bringing almost to boiling point, but do not boil. Stir in cheddar, mustard, salt and nutmeg. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and toss with olive oil.

Stir apple cubes, reserved sausage and pasta into cheese sauce.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes until brown and bubbly. Let sit 15 minutes before serving.

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Semi-soft and semi-hard cheese, like Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella, should be very cold for easy grating.