Caramelized Onion Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Photo Credit : Styled and Photographed by Liz Neily
Main Dishes

Caramelized Onion Mac ’n’ Cheese

Inspired by fondue, this caramelized onion mac ’n’ cheese may be the ultimate comfort food. It’s also incredibly smooth and creamy, since we replaced the usual milk (which can curdle and turn gritty) with a combination of white wine and cream.

By Yankee Magazine

Jan 12 2022


6 to 8 servings


3 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced

¾ teaspoon granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta water

8 ounces cavatappi, macaroni, or other tube-shaped pasta

2 tablespoons plus 1½ tablespoons salted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup heavy cream

10 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (can substitute Gouda)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¹⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 ounces crusty sourdough bread (about ¼ loaf), torn into large pieces

Minced fresh parsley, for garnish


First, prepare the onions. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, then add the onions along with the sugar and 1½ teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring and turning often, until onions release their juices and begin to turn golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until onions turn golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes more. Set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°. Cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling, well-salted water until tender to the bite, 7 to 12 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander.

In another large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in wine until smooth, then whisk in cream. Sprinkle in cheese, one large handful at a time, stirring until the mixture is smooth before adding the next handful. Add mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper. Add the cooked pasta and the caramelized onions to the cheese mixture, stirring until evenly combined, then pour all into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

In a food processor, pulse bread with remaining 1½ tablespoons butter. Pulse until coarse bread crumbs form. Sprinkle bread crumbs over pasta and cheese, and bake until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve hot