A ‘why didn’t I think of this before’ dish!
I adore homemade macaroni and cheese and make it often. I like to add in roasted vegetables or chopped kale or crispy bits of bacon but I usually use the same topping every time: breadcrumbs and garlic butter. A flash of inspiration the other day got me wondering what mac and cheese would taste like with traditional poultry stuffing (or dressing – call it what you like) on top, so of course I had to try it. The verdict: absolutely sensational. If you feel like making a big batch of stuffing, it freezes well. Gluten-free bread and flour work very well in this recipe. Feel free to sneak a few vegetables into the sauce if you like – peas and chopped spinach are both delicious.
For the stuffing
- 1/3 cup (90 mL) butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cups (750 mL) torn bread, in small pieces (regular or gluten-free)
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) dried savory
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground sage
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) each salt and pepper
For the mac and cheese:
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)
- 2 cups (500 mL) milk
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) smoked or regular paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups (500 mL) grated cheddar (I use extra-old)
- 2 cups (500 mL) small pasta (macaroni or shells are great)
- Start by making the stuffing to go on top of the mac and cheese. In a medium-sized pot, melt the butter and add the chopped onion. Sauté over medium heat, stirring often, for 4 -5 minutes, until onion is softened.
- While onions cook, combine torn bread and seasonings in a bowl. Drizzle cooked onions and butter over top; toss to blend well and set aside.
- Make the cheese sauce by melting butter over medium-low heat (use the same pot you cooked the onions in); stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in milk, paprika and a dash of salt & pepper.
- Simmer, stirring often, for 4 minutes, until smooth and thickened. Stir in the grated cheese until blended. Let simmer on low for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While sauce simmers, preheat the oven to 350F.
- Cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling, salted water until just tender.
- Drain cooked macaroni and return it to the pot. Pour cheese sauce over top and stir to blend well.
- Pour the mac and cheese mixture into a greased 8 inch (20 cm) square casserole dish (or four 2 cup/500 mL oven-safe dishes), then sprinkle the stuffing over top.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the stuffing is browned and the cheese sauce is bubbly.