I’m that weird person that wants to eat all the burned cheese off the top of lasagnas, spaghetti and baked mac and cheese. I stare at the dishes coming out of the oven and immediately plot how to remove the crusty, burned bits without anyone catching me in the act.
Because really, how weird would it look for Tony to waltz up to me with a hungry tummy and an empty plate while I am maniacally hunched over the dish, picking it with my fingers and calling it my precious?
One step away from the nut house, is what it’d be.
Luckily for me, I married a man who hates the burned cheese so I get it allllll to myself without looking like too much of a freak. Win.
This mac and cheese is a whole lot greater than the sum of it’s parts. Beer, two different cheeses, homemade panko breadcrumbs, bacon, pasta… oh yes. Bring all these elements together and you get what I would consider premium mac and cheese. And I get all the burny, crunchy cheesy bits all to myself. Be jealous 😉
Beer and Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from How Sweet It Is
2 1/2 cups uncooked shell noodles (you can sub elbow noodles)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
8 ounces milk*
8 ounces beer (I used Blue Moon Belgian White)
8 ounces freshly grated cheddar cheese
4 ounces freshly grated gruyere cheese
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
4 strips thick cut bacon, fried and coarsely chopped
Note: I’m betting that if you used heavy cream in place of the milk that it would yield a creamier, thicker consistency. (Also, I hate bacon. I added it to make it the ultimate mac and cheese. The things I do for you people. If you don’t like bacon, which I’m sure you all do, feel free to leave it off.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare water for pasta and boil according to directions, cooking until just al dente.
Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat and melt butter. Once melted and sizzling, whisk in flour to create a roux and cook until bubbly and golden in color, about 2 minutes (mine was a bit lumpy at first, just keep whisking and it’ll come together). Add milk and beer into saucepan whisking constantly to combine, then add cheeses and stir until melted. Turn heat down to medium and continue to stir, cooking for 5-6 minutes while mixture thickens. Stir in pepper, paprika and nutmeg.
Butter a casserole dish; set aside. Drain noodles and add them to your buttered 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 20 minutes, sprinkle with bacon and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the panko is golden on top.
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, if you can wait that long. Enjoy : )
This post is going to be a delicious dish at our blogging (early) Thanksgiving dinner table. For the turkey and all the trimmings, check out Phyl’s blog for the round-up. Who knows, you might find something you’d like to add to your dinner table 🙂
PS. This is real life. I was using a beer bottle as background filler for my pictures and the wind knocked it over. And it spilled everywhere. Nice.