I clearly have a complete disregard for the health of myself and of those I feed. Case and point, this mac and cheese recipe. Dish this up for yourself, and you will totally see what I mean.
This is, by all means, an adult version of the ultimate comfort food. You simply can’t go wrong. I’ve seen a few restaurants that offer a beer infused mac and cheese and I knew I had to try it for myself.
When it comes to baking or cooking with alcohol, I usually choose something that I would actually drink. So when it came to choosing a Pale Ale for this recipe, I didn’t even bother looking at random craft beers, or special imports that I’ve never tried. I stuck with what I knew. And so I chose Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale.
I was admittedly, a little skeptical that the beer wouldn’t actually impart any flavor. Boy, was I ever wrong. When I was “taste testing” the cheese sauce, I could really taste the difference the beer made. Make sure you dip your finger in the sauce before and after the beer is added and see for yourself.
When I made this recipe, I didn’t use the full amount of pasta, and the sauce was…..well….. really, really saucy. I highly recommend using the full pound of pasta, or cutting the sauce recipe in half. The original recipe calls for you to bake it with breadcrumbs on top. I’m not a huge fan of that, so I omited that step. The baking may also help the pasta absorb some of the sauce too. It keeps fairly well, and makes for a great lunch the day after.
Pale Ale Mac and Cheese
1 lb pasta (elbow, shells or fusilli work well)
1/2 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup cream
8-10 ounces of Pale Ale such as Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale
4 ounces of processed cheese, such as velveeta, chopped into small cubes
6 oz shredded cheddar. (I used 4 ounces cheddar and two ounces monterey jack)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 lb bacon, cooked, and coursely chopped
Prepare pasta al dente. Drain and set aside. You may want to lightly coat the pasta with oil to prevent it from sticking together.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic for 1 minute, until fragrant and the butter is bubbly.
Add flour gradually, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue to stir until the mixture becomes smooth.
A little at a time, add the milk and cream, and then the beer.
Add the processed cheese and stir until it melts. Add the shredded cheese and stir until it also melts.