Here's a recipe for Rosemary-Brie Mac and Cheese that I absolutely adore! I borrowed it from a fantastic blog called Pie in the Sky and adapted it a bit to suit my own tastes and cooking skills. It's a big hit at potluck dinners, and it's great when you want good-old comfort food (but fancied up a bit, so you feel better about eating it :)
Rosemary-Brie Mac and Cheese
2 cups small elbow macaroni
1/2 cup panko flakes or breadcrumbs
6 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole milk (may add more as needed)
7 oz. Brie, rind removed
5 oz. gruyere, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
5 oz. fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup diced green apple (Granny Smith is best)
salt and pepper to taste
Cook macaroni in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Rinse, drain, and set aside for now.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in small saucepan; saute mushrooms a few minutes until tender and set them aside.
Melt another tablespoon butter in same small saucepan (no need to wash in between) and saute green apples until they start to get tender, then set them aside (I put them into the same bowl as the sauteed mushrooms - again, less dishes to wash).
Melt another tablespoon butter in same small saucepan (again, no need to wash). Add the panko or breadcrumbs and stir over medium heat for about a minute. Then remove from heat and set them aside, too.
Melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a LARGE saucepan. Add flour and whisk over medium-low heat for two minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Add rosemary and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Once boiling, whisk for two minutes longer, then reduce heat to low. Add the cheese and stir until melted.
Remove from heat and add sauteed mushrooms and apples. Add more milk as needed for thick, creamy consistency.
Mix macaroni into sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper (I left these out completely, and it still had plenty of flavor - it's your call). Spoon into Pyrex pan and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over top.
Broil until breadcrumbs are brown, about 2 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!
*** Note: The original recipe called for fresh figs, rather than green apples. I don't like figs, though, so I swapped them out for the apples and I loved the result. The apples add a nice, tangy touch. Try it both ways and let me know what you think!