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by Caitlin Saniga

You can eat this one for breakfast, too! Apples, sausage, cheese... come on! It's a great way to start the day.

You can eat this one for breakfast, too! Apples, sausage, cheese... come on! It's a great way to start the day.

  •  1 box (16 ounces) macaroni noodles
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces bulk sausage
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, core removed, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 Asian pear, peeled, core removed, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups provolone cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Heat a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Sprinkle a few shakes of salt over the boiling water, and add the pasta. Cook about 7 minutes (see package directions for specific cook time if you choose to go with a different pasta). Strain the pasta and transfer it to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet (the biggest one you have) over medium heat. Add the sausage and sage, and cook, breaking the sausage into tiny bits with a wooden spoon, until sausage browns, about 7 minutes. Transfer the sausage to the bowl, reserving the oils in the pan.

Add the apple and pear to the pan and cook over medium heat until they soften, 4-5 minutes. Transfer the fruit to the bowl, reserving any oil that’s left in the pan.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan, and cook over medium heat until they soften, about 4 minutes. At this point, add the butter to the pan. Once it melts, sprinkle the flour over the onions, and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and milk, and bring to a simmer. Add cheeses, allspice, salt and pepper. Stir the mixture until the cheese is melted.

Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta, sausage and apples in the large bowl. Stir to combine.

Makes 8 servings.

*Throughout November, “Out of the Box” will guide you away from prepackaged mac and cheese and will feature oodles of our favorite recipes  — all of which can be found here.

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