Creamy Macaroni Cheese mixed with chunks of chicken apple sausage and sliced fennel. Just when you thought mac and cheese couldn’t get any better, it totally did!
I’m always looking for new ways to make Macaroni Cheese. It’s one of those dishes that can take almost any ingredient and you know you’ll still be able to eat it. Even if the mac and cheese is stuffed inside little balls of pretzel dough with bacon or combined with jalapeños and topped with Cheetos to make some ridiculous poppers!
I can proudly add this version to my ever growing list of macaroni cheese recipes, and as well as the chunks of chicken apple sausage and fennel, it still has an obnoxious amount of cheese in it.
Because cheese is the money.
For me the cheese is what signals the perfect mac and cheese. You can’t skimp on it and you need a lot of it! Once the creamy cheese sauce hits the pasta, it ends up being soaked up like a sponge.
I used three different kinds of cheese for this dish. Manchego, soft cheddar and an extra sharp vintage cheddar. They all melt really well and the flavors are
The meat part comes from a couple of uncooked chicken and apple sausages. Chop them up and sauté with the sliced fennel and a diced Granny Smith apple.
Sweet, savory, crunchy, creamy. So many taste bud bombs going off right now.
Mix some panko breadcrumbs with butter and scatter all over the surface.
35 minutes later and prepare to pick up your jaw from the floor, because you just made Macaroni Cheese for the win.
If making macaroni cheese was an Olympic event, you’d be on the podium, for real!
Have a great weekend friends!
Macaroni Cheese with Fennel and Chicken Apple Sausage
- 3 cups dried elbow macaroni
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 whole shallot thinly sliced
- 1 cup chopped fennel
- 1 whole Granny Smith apple peeled and diced
- 1.5 pounds uncooked chicken apple sausage roughly cut into small chunks
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups soft mild cheddar grated
- 1 1/2 cups Manchego cheese grated
- 1 cup hard vintage extra sharp cheddar grated
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 tbsp Fresh chopped rosemary
- Cook the pasta as per the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.Heat the olive oil in a large pan preferably 10-12 inch.
- Add the sliced shallot and chopped fennel and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring.
- Add the diced apple and sausage pieces and cook until the sausage has cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the contents to a bowl and place the pan back on the heat.
- Add the butter and melt, then add the flower and whisk for about 2-3 minutes over a low-medium heat and the flour mixture starts to turn slightly golden.
- Gradually add the milk whisking well after each addition. Make sure there are no lumps before adding more milk. Once all of the milk has been added bring the sauce to a simmer and whisk gently for about 5 minutes over a low heat.
- Add 1 cup of the Manchebo and whisk until melted. Add the 2 cups of cheddar and stir until melted followed by the remaining 1 cup vintage cheddar. Season with the nutmeg, salt and black pepper.
- The sauce should now be thick but pourable and smooth. if it still seems a little on the thick side, just add some extra milk and whisk.
- In a large bowl combine the sausage mixture with the pasta then transfer to a large oven safe casserole dish or 9 x 13 baking pan.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta mixture and gently mix with a fork or spatula making sure that the pasta is coated well.
- Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter and add to the breadcrumbs. Mix with the grated Parmesan, remaining Manchego cheese and chopped rosemary and scatter over the pasta.
- Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes and the cheese is bubbling around the side and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.Serve at once.