This recipe specifically calls for California cheese due to the guidelines posted here.
1 lb Barilla plus elbow pasta
1/2 lb California cheddar, any variety you prefer (I like to use white for this dish)
1/4 lb California gouda
1/4 lb California swiss (try to find a firm, nutty variety)
1 medium fuji apple
1 medium yellow onion
4-5 T butter
1 C apple cider, preferably fresh from a local orchard
1 1/2 C local milk, 2% or whole
1/4 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 t dried thyme
whole nutmeg (you won't use the whole thing)
For those of you who say "eewwwwwww sweet fruit with macaroni and cheese? Gross!"
– don't knock it until you try it.
Step 1: Cook Pasta
I neglected to take pictures of a pot of boiling water or cooking pasta. Sorry.
Step 2: Prepare and Cook Onions and Apples
While onions are cooking, peel, core, and grate the apple. Add the apple to the onions when the onions are brown enough for your liking. Cook the apple with the onion until the apple is softened and most of the water evaporated.
Step 3: Make Cheese Sauce
Sprinkle the flour into the pan with the apple and onion while stirring. If needed, add another tablespoon of butter to incorporate all the flour. You don't want lumps. Keep stirring until everything is mixed well and you see no white powdery flour. Add the apple cider and stir well. The mixture should thicken quickly as it heats up. When smooth, stir in the milk. Keep stirring and cook until bubbles form. Turn off the heat.
Add the mixed cheese, one handful at a time, stirring after each addition until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Grind in some black pepper, grate on about 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, and crush the thyme in your hand before adding to the sauce. Taste the sauce and see if it needs salt. Add salt if needed. Stir the sauce thoroughly. Taste it again, for good measure. Mmmmmm cheese...
Step 4: Put It Together
You might want to serve this with some vegetables and fruit; it's a bit rich.