I wanted to be sure to get this recipe up here before Spring comes around and we all, inevitably, start thinking about swimsuit season. The combination of gooey cheese, sweet maple sausage and homey applesauce makes this one sexy, cozy dish, perfect for these frigid nights we’ve been getting in Columbus. And hey! Apples and chicken are on your bikini diet, right?
I first made this Applesauce Mac & Cheese with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage in late summer, just when the leaves were starting to change and I felt like I needed to do something…I don’t know…Autumnal? It has since become one of my favorite dishes for the colder months. We’ve gone on to eat the scrumptious chicken sausage in quiches and even on its own for breakfast. I use Al Fresco brand, which can be found at Meijer and Giant Eagle. To save ourselves from spending $20 on Gruyere , we tweaked the original recipe and bought Swiss instead. This recipe makes a big ‘ol pan and it freezes well. Enjoy it with a salad, a side of applesauce and an IPA.
Applesauce Mac & Cheese with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage
Adapted from: Adventures in Cooking
- 1 pound pasta (elbow mac, shells, whatever you prefer)
- 3/4 pound chicken apple sausage, sliced into bite sized pieces
- 3 1/3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 12 ounces Swiss cheese, grated, 1/2 cup of it set aside
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup flour
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare the pasta. When it is al dente, drain it well and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the apple sausage and cook until it is caramelized on the outside.
2. While the pasta is cooking and sausage is browning, heat the milk and applesauce in a medium saucepan over medium low heat until hot. Be sure to not let it boil and stir every few minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butta in a large dutch oven. Once it is completely melted, whisk in the flour. Continue whisking the butta/flour mixture for two minutes, then whisk in the hot milk and applesauce. Continue cooking for 2 more minutes. The mixture should begin to thicken.
3. Remove the dutch oven from the heat and stir in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, Swiss (except the 1/2 cup), cheddar, and the apple sausage pieces until evenly distributed. Add the cooked pasta and coat with the cheese sauce. Spread everything into a baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of the grated Swiss and a few dashes of pepper. Place the uncovered pan in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the macaroni on top just begins to turn golden brown at the tips. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Nom.