Monday, January 7, 2013
Stout macaroni and cheese
Have you ever had beer-cheese soup? If so, and you liked it, you will really like this mac n' cheese since it's basically a really creamy beer-cheese soup with noodles. Is there an end to the possibilities of macaroni and cheese? Readers know that I love this comfort food and while I love classic mac n' cheese, I also enjoy it with smoked cheese and pumpkin, Mexican flavors, and summer squash, just to name a few. This was my first time making it with beer. I chose a milk stout (because I thought that made sense given that it was going into a milk and cheese sauce) from one of our favorite local craft breweries, Southern Tier Brewing Company. This specific beer is not required for this recipe, but make sure it's a stout you enjoy drinking because the flavor will be prominent in the dish. I've seen Guinness mac n' cheese and similar on menus at places like Irish pubs.
This recipe will serve about six people. Serve this mac n' cheese with a green salad with a nice vinaigrette to cut through the cheese sauce. I also put out some briny and spicy green olives. This dish is perfect for the weekend or a snowy evening with a nice beer.
Stout macaroni and cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 garlic clove, minced
2 heaping tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup stout of your choice
2 cups milk
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 lb. box of elbow noodles, or other short-cut pasta
hot sauce for serving, optional
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a large baking dish. Cook the pasta in salted water until just under al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside in its cooking pot.
While the pasta cooks, warm the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add the garlic and stir. Cook until fragrant, stirring often, about 1 minute. Add the flour and whisk. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, whisking often. Slowly pour in the stout while whisking. Continue to cook, whisking often, until the sauce is smooth and the beer has reduced slightly. Pour in the milk, a good pinch of sea salt, and a few grinds of pepper and continue to cook, whisking often, until the sauce begins to thicken.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese about a handful at a time, reserving about 1/2 a cup. When the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth, slowly stir it into the pasta. Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the macaroni and cheese is bubbly and the top is golden.
Let sit for about 5 minutes and then serve. Top with your favorite hot sauce, such as Frank's, if desired.
What was I cooking one year ago?: olive oil-almond cake with vanilla mascarpone cheese
Two years ago?: Chana palak
Three?: butternut squash Moroccan stew