As I said in a post a little while back – the last time I made mac and cheese – I have a soft spot for mac and cheese so it should not be a surprise that there were multiple recipes in this recent magazine issue that caught my eye. And — spoiler alert — I recently found some more online so I foresee many more mac and cheese postings in the future.
So, where does this one rank on the list? Pretty high up. I still think that this one is the best one I’ve made. But that one and this one have something in common — both are made with beer. Maybe that should tell me something.
The only thing about this recipe I didn’t like was that it wasn’t very cheesy. Now that could be because I changed the recipe from 4 oz of sausage to a full pound (16 oz). Using only 4 oz seemed like such a small amount it wasn’t going to be worth the effort. Plus, it called for spicy sausage (that wasn’t happening) and it suggested that you buy something like a brat where you cut the casing and use it that way. Nothing wrong with that, I’ve done that before but, at the time, it seemed like a waste. What was I going to do with the other sausages (eat them, yes, but it wasn’t fitting into my plan). So I bought a package of mild Italian sausage and cooked it just like the directions said in the recipe. I think it may have take a bit longer to cook since there was more of it, but no big deal. And I chose to use a pound of meat as I used the same amount in the last mac and cheese recipe I made, which had a similar amount of pasta so I figured it wouldn’t matter that much.
Now, back to the lack of “being cheesy”. I did add a little bit more, maybe a quarter cup, of the sharp cheddar cheese to try and boost the cheesy-ness of the dish. It may have helped a little, but not that much. Bottom line, if I had only used 4 oz of the meat, it may have come out cheesier as the ratio of cheese to other stuff would have been better.
The only other change was to spread it out in a single pan, one that was 11×7, rather than individual dishes. Mainly because I didn’t have the right individual dishes (or I didn’t think I did and didn’t bother tearing apart the kitchen looking).
recipe taken from the March 2013 issue of Cooking Light magazine
8 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
2 TSP canola oil
1 lb mild Italian sausage
3/4 cup diced onion
2 1/2 TBSP all-purpose flour
1/2 TSP ground black pepper
1/8 TSP salt
1 cup Guinness Stout beer
1/3 cup milk
2/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 cup mild cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.
While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil, swirl to coat. Add sausage and onion to pan; cook 6 minutes or until sausage is cooked and onions are translucent, breaking up the sausage as you cook it.
Add flour, pepper and salt; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in beer, bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or up until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add milk and cheeses, stirring until smooth. Stir in pasta.
Pour into a greased 11×7 dish (or four small, individual dishes). Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.