- 15 minutes
- 80 minutes
- Makes 8 to 10 servings
- In a large, 8 to 10-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and saute the onions for several minutes. Add the sausage and garlic powder, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in the apples and the cider, and cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in the flour; cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the milk, stirring continually until the sauce is smooth. Turn down to a simmer, and stir often; cook another 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened.
- In a large bowl, mix together the shredded cheeses. Add ¾ of the cheese mixture to the saucepan. Add the sage. Stir continually until all of the cheese is melted.
- Season with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Add the pasta. Mix thoroughly.
- Transfer the mixture to a buttered 13x9 baking dish. This fills it pretty close to the top, but there is still room to add the remaining ¼ of the cheese and the crushed crackers on top.
- Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, until golden brown.
- Sprinkle with dried thyme if desired.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.