I am not one to pat myself on the back but I have to say that I am pretty proud of myself for getting this to come together and work (I thought it tasted awesome) when there really wasn’t a recipe.
To rewind a bit, I had bought some Italian sausage (ground, mild) to make a pasta dish. However, when I went to get the ricotta cheese I had in the fridge i found what looked like a science experiment that had gone horribly wrong. And since it was too lazy to go to the store to buy more, I had to figure something out. Enter deciding that I could make an “Italian” mac and cheese. While there wasn’t a recipe for the entire dish, I did use this recipe for the base of the mac and cheese. I’ve used it once before and it is my “go to” now for making mac and cheese. The first time I used it I did make it pretty much exactly the way it stated. This time I made a few tweaks.
For the pasta, I measured out 13 ounces of pasta (medium sized shell shape). The recipe says the make a full pound but then only use 3/4 of it. Since I wanted to go for a creamier, looser dish this time around I used less pasta.
I kept the roux the same but when it came to adding the cheese, I shredded an 8 ounce block of Colby/Monterey Jack. That was it. For the spices I used some of the Italian Street Flair Blend from the Spice and Tea Exchange. Since it comes in a grinder it’s hard to say how much I used. I started with about 24 grinds but it didn’t seem to make that much difference so I added more. I didn’t count the grinds then. I’d say though that for as much as I put in, there wasn’t more than a teaspoon, if that.
For the other add ins, I used the pound of Italian sausage and I fried up the last little bit of bacon I had left, which was about 1/4 of a pound. I fried the bacon first and then, since there wasn’t a lot of grease left I cooked the sausage in the bacon grease. Not sure if it did anything special but I thought I’d try it.
After mixing everything together, I poured it into a greased casserole dish and topped it with some more of the seasoning. Can’t say how much again, but I tried to evenly distribute it across the top. Then it went into the oven for the 30 minutes recommended in the recipe.
As I said in the beginning, I thought it was fantastic. Everyone else thought it was good but “nothing special”. Either way, I’m happy something I “threw together” turned out this good.