Copyright Thomas Saaristo  All Rights Reserved
Sharp Cheddar mac with caramelized onion and sun dried tomato
The richness of a dish can be countered with an acid, like lemon or tomato, but sweet
can also cut through the richness of a dish. Here sun dried tomatoes bring both and
caramelized onions round out the task


For the pasta
1 pound cavattapi or macaroni
1/4 cup House salt

For the Cheddar sauce
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
2½ cups milk
2½ cups heavy cream
15 ounces shredded extra sharp white Cheddar cheese
1 fresh nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/3 cup bias sliced scallion tops
5 slice hickory smoked bacon, cooked crisp and sliced
3/4 cup Caramelized onions
1 teaspoons house salt
Black peppercorns in a pepper mill
Favorite hot sauce, to taste, optional

For finishing
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Heat a large dutch oven of water over high heat to the boil. Slowly add the salt
followed by the pasta. Give everything a big stir and cook until al dente, 9 to 11
minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water for sauce

Meanwhile, heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add the
butter, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan and heat until the foam has subsided.
Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth, another 2 minutes.
Slowly and alternately pour in the milk and the cream, whisking. Bring to the boil and
reduce to the simmer and cook, 2 minutes until thickened

Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup cheddar along with tomatoes, Caramelized onions,
scallions, and bacon; season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, 6 to 8 swipes of
nutmeg on a rasp, and stir in pasta. Add pasta cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, if
desired, to create the desired consistency

Transfer mixture to a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar. Top with
bread crumbs; bake until golden, about 25 minutes

Sharp Cheddar mac with caramelized onion and sun dried tomato can be served hot,
warm or at room temperature. Leftovers, if there are any, can be kept, covered and
refrigerated, up to 5 days