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Applejack Mac & Cheese

Featuring: Applewood Farm Winery Applejack

1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil

3 mild Italian sausages, casings removed

4 tbsp unsalted butter  

1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced 

2 honeycrisp apples, cored and finely diced 

2 tsp fennel seeds

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup Applewood Farm Winery Applejack 

2 1/2 cups Sargent Dairy 3.25%MF whole milk 

1 container (230g) MacLaren’s Imperial Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1 lb dried elbow pasta 

2 cups grated 2-year-old aged Canadian Cheddar                                          

1 cup panko bread crumbs 

● Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 9-inch X13-inch baking pan and set aside.

● Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium-high heat, add sausage and,using a wooden spoon, break meat apart while it cooks. When sausage is thoroughly cooked and golden brown, stir in butter, onion, apple and fennel seeds, reduce heat to medium and cook until apples and onion are soft, about 5 minutes, the stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes more. 

● Slowly whisk in applejack and milk to combine, then increase heat to high and cook until mixture begins to simmer and thicken. Add Imperial cheddar cheese and whisk until completely melted. Remove pot from heat and allow sauce to cool slightly. 

● Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions, drain, fold into reserved sauce until well combined, then spoon into prepared baking dish. Set aside.

● In a small mixing bowl, stir together grated cheddar cheese, bread crumbs and remaining 1 tsp olive oil to combine, then sprinkle mixture evenly over pasta and bake, uncovered, until golden brown and bubbling, about 40 minutes. Remove dish from oven and allow pasta to cool for 15 minutes before serving. 

Serves 6

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