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"If you like apple pie with cheddar on top, this is your dream casserole," Rach says of this fall twist on mac and cheese she cooked in her Halloween costume — the gopher from the 1980 movie "Caddyshack." (John dressed up as Bill Murray's character, Carl!)
In honor of Halloween, John paired Rach's dish with a festive sparkling cocktail he's dubbed Bobbing For Apples.
For the apple mac & cheese, heat a large pot of water for the pasta to boil.
Preheat oven to 400˚F with rack at center.
Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat with butter, add onions, apples and bay, season with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, zest, thyme and brown sugar, soften 7 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle flour over top and stir a minute, whisk in cider, stock and half and half, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a bubble and thicken sauce to coat back of spoon in thin layer, 6 to 7 minutes at low bubble over medium-low simmer.
Cook pasta in salted water about 6 minutes, then drain.
Stir cheese into sauce a few handfuls at a time.
Toss pasta with sauce and apples and place in casserole dish.
Combine cracker crumbs with parsley and Parm and top pasta. Brown and bubble, cool 5 minutes and serve.
For the brats & sauerkraut, parboil sausages to heat through in an inch of water, transfer to a platter, empty pan, wipe, return to medium heat with oil, 2 turns of pan. Melt butter into oil and saute onions with bay, salt and white pepper or fine black pepper. Soften 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to light golden. Add the sauerkraut to onions and add the sausages back to pan, add water or stock, simmer 5 minutes, and serve.