Happy Birthday, Mom!
In honor of my Mom's birthday, I thought I'd share one of my very favorite recipes that has been handed down through her family.
It's an easy one, and a good one (oh-so very good).
It is, sadly, not a healthy one.
This is not one of those side dishes you make once a week. This isn't even something you should probably eat once a month.
But, oh my gosh, is it ever yummy.
May I present...
*1 pound elbow macaroni noodles, cooked according to directions
*1 pound Swiss cheese, shredded (you can use deli sliced, but it won't be as good)
*1 cube of butter - at least, you might need a little more
*Onions - at least 2 or 3 large yellow onions, though I think I used 4 here
Are you ready?
Layer elbow macaroni and shredded cheese in a baking or casserole dish. (I prefer a fairly deep one). This can be done before or during the next few steps.
Slice onions. Not super thin - they turn into slime. Not too thick - they take forever to cook.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt half a cube of butter and add the onions. Give the onions a good stir every so often.
What we're going for here is caramelization and it takes for ever. Don't rush it.
First the onions become translucent. They're really starting to smell amazing right about now. You might be tempted to call it good enough but if you're patient just a little longer, you will be well rewarded.
See this next one down below? I suppose you could call this one done. You're starting to see the little bits of golden brown yumminess that make the dish so amazing. Again, though - just give it a few more minutes. Now, you should be stirring the onions a little more often than you did at the beginning. It's a fine line between caramelization and burning (speaking from experience here). The aroma is getting richer. You might need to add a little more butter. I do it slowly - a tablespoon at a time. I generally end up using the entire cube of butter by the time I'm done (and occasionally a little more).
Now this, this next one - this is perfection. More golden brown than translucent white. See - totally worth the wait.
Do we really need the noodles and Swiss cheese?
Well, yes, they're looking a little lonely.
Next step - dump the buttery, caramelized onions on top of the macaroni and Swiss.
Give it a few minutes for the onions and butter to melt through the cheese and it's ready to go. Sometimes, I take another tablespoon or two of butter and melt it in the now empty onion pan and throw that on top too.
And it's ready to eat.
I love this dish when company is coming because I can get it made an hour or so before serving, throw a lid on it and keep it warm in the oven. It doesn't hurt a thing, in fact I think it makes it better.
It goes well with tri-tip, steaks, chicken, but our favorite around here is to serve it with bratwurst and some good, hard rolls. A salad might be a nice touch too :)
It's also an easy recipe to make lots of for family reunions or big parties.
Anyone else hungry?