Apple macaroni and cheese
Adapted from adventuresincooking.com
Start-to-finish: 1 hour and 20 minutes (40 minutes active)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 pound pork, turkey or chicken apple sausage, removed from casings
1 pound elbow macaroni
3 1/3 cups whole milk
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
12 ounces Swiss cheese, grated
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
Heat oven to 375 F. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.
In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add apple sausage and brown until just cooked all the way through, breaking it apart into smaller pieces while cooking.
Drain and set aside.
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir. Set aside.
While water boils and pasta cooks, heat milk and applesauce in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat until hot (do not bring to a boil), stirring every 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and whisk in flour after it completely melts.
Continue heating butter and flour mixture for two minutes, whisking constantly. Whisk hot milk and applesauce into butter mixture, and cook for two more minutes, still whisking. Mixture should begin to thicken.
Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in nutmeg, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, Swiss and cheddar cheeses and sausage until evenly distributed. Add cooked pasta and stir until pasta is covered in cheese sauce.
Transfer to baking dish and bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, or until macaroni on top begins to turn golden brown at tips.
Cool 10 minutes before serving.