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Boxed mac and cheese can't compare to homemade, and that's especially true of this French Onion Mac & Cheese. It's a combination of two comfort food favorites- French onion soup and mac and cheese. Pasta gets a decadent lift from caramelized sweet onion flavor and Gruyére cheese before being sprinkled with a buttery golden brown panko topping. But just because this French Onion Mac & Cheese recipe tastes so good doesn't mean it's complicated or difficult to make. In fact, it's practically as easy as the boxed stuff, because the pasta cooks in the same skillet you use to make the cheese sauce, infusing every noodle with flavor. The entire recipe is ready in about a half hour, but if your'e in a rush, you can also make French Onion Mac & Cheese in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Either way, it will still be the best comfort food you've ever made!
Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 7 minutes or until lightly browned.
Stir in the water and concentrate. Cover and heat to a boil. Stir in the cavatappi. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until the cavatappi is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in 1 ½ cups Gruyère cheese and the cream cheese. Cover and let stand for 3 minutes. Season with black pepper (no need to add salt).
While the cavatappi mixture is cooking, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the panko and cook and stir until the panko is golden brown. After the cavatappi mixture stand time, stir well, then sprinkle with the remaining Gruyère cheese. Cover and let stand for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the panko mixture before serving.
This nutritional information refers to each serving of the entire recipe and not just the products used as ingredients.