15 min Prep Time - 30 min Cook Time - 45 min Total Time
1/2 pound dried macaroni noodles
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1/2 a large sweet onion, chopped
1 firm, crisp apple (such as Crimson Topaz), seeded and chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
5 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded
3 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt & Pepper
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the noodles and cook until al dente (do not overcook!).
Drain the noodles and set aside. Return the pot to the stove and set the heat to medium. Add the chopped bacon and cook until the fat has rendered, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve the bacon grease in the pot.
Add the onions to the pan. Saute for 3 minutes, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the apples and saute for another 3 minutes. Remove the onion and apples from the pan and set aside with the cooked noodles. Carefully wipe any excess fat from the pan.
Add the quarter cup of butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and whisk into the butter. Cook the roux mixture* for 3 minutes, whisking constantly.
Slowly pour the chicken broth into the pan and continue to stir. Allow the sauce to come to a boil over medium heat. Once it has come to a boil, pour the milk into the sauce and stir well.
Once the sauce mixture just barely starts to boil, turn off the heat and stir in the shredded cheese by the handful. Return the cooked pasta, bacon, onions, and apples to the pot. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
*The roux mixture (butter and flour) should be about the consistency of melted peanut butter. If it is too thick, add a little more butter. If it is too thin, add a little more flour. Cook for 3 minutes after adding any additional flour to the pot.
Adapted from The Wanderlust Kitchen