Saturday, March 23, 2013

Stout Mac and Cheese

Every month, I am excited to receive the new issue of Cooking Light magazine for the new dinner ideas I find after perusing the pages of this magazine. I usually have to "real foodify" the recipes, but that's ok by me! My family enjoys the new ideas that wind up on our table. This recipe is one from the April 2013 issue, which I've switched up a bit.

8-12 ounces whole wheat or brown rice pasta (rotini or fusilli)
2-3 tbsp butter or ghee
6 Italian sausage links, casings removed (see comments)
1 small to medium onion, diced
1/2 tsp black pepper
Sea salt to taste
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups Stout beer (we used Sam Adams Cream Stout, although the recipe calls for Guiness Stout and next time I make it I would like to use this organic Bison Beer Chocolate Stout)
1/2 cup whole milk or cream (or sub broth, if preferred)
6-8 ounces of your favorite cheese, grated (we like cheddar or cheddar and gruyere combined)
1 tbsp dried parsley

How To:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Start pasta - cook according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, cook your cheese sauce. Heat a large skillet (or try using a 4-qt cast-iron braising pan) over medium heat. Add the butter, onion, and sausage removed from casings. Cook 5-10 minutes, stirring often to crumble up the sausage. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in beer and cook a few minutes.

3. In a small glass measuring cup, measure 1/2 cup milk and add the arrowroot powder. Mix well and then add to your pan. Stir until thickened and bubbly. Then add grated cheese and stir until melted.

4. At this point, your pasta should be done. Add your cooked pasta to this mixture, stir, and sprinkle with a little parsley. Move this whole thing to the oven and cook 10 minutes. If you were not using an oven proof skillet, transfer to a cassarole dish (I've done it both ways). If you want to get fancy with your mac and cheese, you can transfer to ceramic gratin dishes coated with butter for individual portions.

Pre-oven, brown rice pasta

5. Let cool five minutes, then serve.

Post-oven, whole wheat pasta

Regarding the sausage, we buy the vast majority of our meat from US Wellness because I cannot get as good of a quality of meat here locally. They are fast and their prices are reasonable with only a $5 handling charge in lieu of shipping. Their sausages are linked above. That being said, one of the times we made this, we used a different US Wellness Italian sausage link (for the first time) and I did not care for the results because those sausages were more like a polska kielbasi in texture, I believe they were pre-cooked, and I had to grind them up in the Magic Bullet for this recipe. Now, I am not sure when I bought those sausages, but I looked on the US Wellness website and think perhaps they were the beef Italian sausage links. Going forward, I will only use their pork Italian sausages or another similar type (with raw meat in casings) from a local source. Anyway, just wanted to give you a heads up that you could make it with a polska kielbasi type of sausage, but it's a lot better with regular Italian sausage links.

Regarding arrowroot powder, you save a ton ordering it in bulk as opposed to ordering a tiny little jar from the spice section of your standard grocery store. I've included a link above.

Finally, regarding the pasta, we use Jovial brand pastas and I have made this with the whole wheat fusilli and the brown rice fusilli. Both turn out equally well. If you have not tried this pasta yet, you are really missing out. Both are really good, and do not taste weird or funny in any way. The pictures above show both versions.

This serves about 6 and takes 30 minutes or less from start to finish.

This recipe was shared at Weekend Kitchen Creations, Better Mom MondaysMarvelous MondaysMelt In Your Mouth Mondays, Scratch Cookin' Tuesdays, and Foodtastic Friday. Follow the links for other great recipes and ideas.
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  1. This looks delicious! I've been thinking about making a beer infused Mac n cheese. Thanks so much for sharing on Marvelous Mondays!

    Just a side note, even with the use of brown rice pasta, this recipe isn't Gluten Free. Beer contains gluten unless you purchase GF beer.

    1. Julie, thanks so much for the heads up on the beer. I went line by line through the recipe to ensure everything was gluten free before publishing, but totally skipped the beer. I have no idea why, except perhaps because I don't normally cook with it. That was really a dreadful mistake and I am so glad you commented.

  2. This looks great! Never would have thought to add beer to mac and cheese..

    1. I agree with that completely! It is a great flavor combination though. I hope you'll give it a try.


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