Mac & Cheese Gets A Sweet Makeover

Mac and cheese comes in many different forms depending on the type of pasta and cheese you use. Adding fruit to your mac and cheese just gives it another level of flavor.

I've tasted and made several different kinds of mac and cheese. I've made the quick kind out of the little blue box, and I've made the kind that takes a good hour and requires a lot of stirring to make a yummy, cheesy sauce. These different macs have had everything from onions to corn to ham mixed in. There is, however, one thing my mac and cheese has never had — fruit.

But today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement and the end of the new year celebration. Apples are always eaten during the holiday to help usher in a sweet new year. So, since Better Homes and Gardens had a mac and cheese recipe that included apples, I thought it'd be the perfect choice for this special occasion. I was right. You still get the savory cheesy flavor that goes with your standard mac and cheese. But now you have a sweet pop of flavor thanks to all the chopped apples. It's really the perfect combination.

Apple cheddar penne pie

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter, divided
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 cups apples, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups white cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle the sides of the pan with a half cup of panko and set aside.
  2. Stir the remaining half cup of panko with two tablespoons of melted butter and set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta two minutes less than the package directions, drain, return the pasta to the pan and set aside.
  4. While the pasta cooks, cook the apples, onion and four tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat for about five minutes or until the apples are tender. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper and cook for another two minutes. Whisk in the cream and apple cider and cook until thick and bubbling, about 10 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the cheese and thyme until the cheese is melted.
  6. Add the apple and cheese mixture to the pasta and stir to combine. Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared pan, sprinkle the panko mixture on top and bake for 40 minutes or until the sides bubble. Let cool for 20 minutes, remove the sides of the pan, slice into wedges and serve.

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Cranberry apple bread

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Comments

Comments on "Tonight's Dinner: Apple cheddar penne pie recipe"

Jennifer October 10, 2012 | 10:30 AM

Erin -- You don't have to use the cream cheese. It just makes it a little creamier. But it'd be just as tasty without it. And an alternative I'd substitute the cream cheese with an extra 1/2 cup of cream and an extra 1/2 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese.

Diana Beatty October 02, 2012 | 10:20 PM

This sounds really great and since my grandkids love fruit I think they would love this I know I would it sounds and looks tasteful and I love cream cheese I have made some great desserts with cream cheese so this recipe would be something I could really get into.

Erin September 27, 2012 | 9:39 PM

The recipe sounds great, but unfortunately I am not a huge fan of cream cheese at all. I would be willing to make this for my husband and kids, though, as they are huge cheese lovers! I love that it contains apples to incorporate fall into the meal.

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