Last week, while perusing Pinterest, I spotted this picture:
It had the description: beer mac n cheese. I clicked and it took me to the blog, How Sweet it Is with the full recipe. The author compared the taste of it to beer and cheese soup and it looked nice and easy to make.
Now, I don’t love the typical mac n cheese. Cheese itself has never been one of my favorite foods, on its own. I like it on pizza and used in recipes, but eating it straight or a dish like mac n cheese has never really been my thing. But add in some beer and this is now a dish I could get along with!
I did adapt the recipe according to my tastes. Start the dish by cooking the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside. You can use whole wheat pasta in this recipe, it holds up to the cheese sauce well and makes the dish a bit healthier. While the pasta is cooking, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
Once melted, add the diced onion and cook for about 5-7 minutes until translucent but not brown.
Add the flour and stir. Cook, stirring, until the mixture gets a nice golden color, about 2 minutes.
Add the milk, beer and cheeses, while stirring. Stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture thickens slightly. Add the paprika, nutmeg and pepper.
Pour the cheese over the noodles in a stir slightly.
Top with bread crumbs and some parmesan cheese and small pieces of butter.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until the cheese is bubbling. Top with sliced fresh basil.
Serve with a side of arugula tossed with vinaigrette.
The mac n cheese tasted good. The consistency was great with the whole wheat pasta and I enjoyed the fresh basil however I think next time I will add Gruyere cheese instead of parmesan and use a darker beer. I only had Yeungling in on hand so that’s what I used this time and I would like liked more of a beer taste. The whole thing was good, I just found myself wanting stronger flavors. I can’t wait to make it again!
Here is the recipe:
- 2½ cups uncooked whole wheat elbow noodles
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 8 ounces milk
- 8 ounces beer
- 8 ounces freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces freshly grated Gruyere cheese
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch of black pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 10 large basil leaves, chopped for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Prepare water for pasta and boil according to directions, shaving 1-2 minutes off of cooking time since pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
- Heat a saucepan over medium high heat and add butter. Once melted and sizzling, cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour to create a roux and cook until bubbly and golden in color, about 2 minutes. Add milk and beer into saucepan whisking constantly, then add cheeses and stir until melted. Turn heat down to medium and continue to stir, cooking for 5-6 minutes while mixture thickens. It will most likely NOT thicken like regular mac and cheese because of the beer, but you want it to thicken a little bit. Stir in pepper, paprika and nutmeg.
- Add noodles (once cooked and drained) to a casserole dish, then pour cheese over top, mixing gently to combine. Top with panko bread crumbs and an additional sprinkle of cheese if desired. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then top with fresh basil.