Reduced Fat Macaroni and Cheese

My attempt at comfort food for my dear Phoebe. Not milk fat creamy, but definitely cheesy. It has a nice flavor without all the cheese and heavy cream which I attribute to all the garlic and onion. I enjoyed it thoroughly although it's not for those who are expecting Kraft mac and cheese.
1 lb elbow macaroni
½ tsp oil
½ onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp white flour
2 ½ C low fat milk
2 ¼ C grated extra sharp Cheddar, divided (about 5 oz)

3” of sausage, sliced (optional)
¼ C chopped tomatoes (optional)
¼ C chopped green onions (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook macaroni according to directions until al dente. Drain

If cooking with sausage, heat up the pan and cook the sliced sausage until browned and then remove from pan.

In the same pan, heat up the oil. Add onions and cook until softened, and browned. Then add garlic. Cook until softened. Add the butter and melt. Then flour. Cook for 1 minute. Add the milk, cook for 6 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly. Don’t wait until it thickens too much. It’ll continue to cook in the oven and thicken there too. I think I waited too long and it got a little dry.

Using a hand blender, blend until all onion and garlic bits are pureed into the sauce. Remove from heat; stir in 1 ½ C cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over noodles, combine with sausage and tomatoes and green onions.

Transfer to a 9x13” baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 45 minutes or until top is crisp and beginning to brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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