One of the things that I've loved since I was a kid was mac and cheese. It didn't matter if it was from a box, or if Dave made it from scratch, I was a mac and cheese nomming little monster, and some things never change. I'm still a mac and cheese nomming monster, and the other day, I got hit right in the face with cooking brilliance: What if I made mac and cheese, and put sausage in it?
Yes, sausage. It sounded like a brilliant idea to me, though Dave looked at me for a moment like I'd lost my mind, though in my defense, it can't be all that worse than that one time he made sushi out of salami and mashed potatoes.
So, ingredients in hand and ready to go, I set out to make awesome mac and cheese with sausage. And everyone, including Dave, was surprised when I made them taste it: Truly, this is the god of all mac and cheeses. Dave tasted it and let out a mildly surprised, "Holy shit!" and even my mother, who's not really into the whole "culinary ridiculousness" thing like I am, said that it "tasted good" (which is about the best compliment she knows how to give food.)
Lynnafred's homemade mac and cheese (with sausage!)Makes about 8 servings
- 1 pound small pasta (small shells work great for mac and cheese, but elbows are fine too.)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup of milk
- About 2 pounds or so of assorted cheeses (for best flavor, comb your local supermarket for cheese ends. My mac and cheese is always made with ends, and usually consists of: American, cheddar, provolone, muenster, Swiss, mozzarella [for body], pepper jack [for a hint of spice], and a small crumbling of bleu [it adds an amazing tangy zip to the cheese sauce that can't be gotten any other way.])
- Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 pound bulk breakfast sausage (not in casings)Cook pasta according to the package instructions; meanwhile, use the butter, flour, and milk and make a basic white sauce. Don't season it. Don't do anything to it but add the cheeses. (Hint: keeping the white sauce on low heat as you're adding the cheese makes it melt faster and more evenly, and you're not left with any strange looking chunks.) Add cheeses small blocks at a time, or (if you got lucky with those cheese ends) slice-by-slice. The greater variety of cheeses you use, the deeper and more complex your cheese sauce will be, which is really what you're looking for here. And better yet, the cheeses you use will add all the salt and flavoring you'll really need, except a shot of Worcestershire sauce to bring out all of the cheese's flavor.
Once the cheese sauce is done, set it aside (over very low heat to keep it from setting.) Don't add it to the pasta just yet. Get a pan and start frying up that half pound of breakfast sausage. Once it's fully cooked, drain the fat off of it and dump it into the pot with the pasta. Stir it around, then add the cheese sauce. Continue stirring it up until the pasta and sausage is evenly coated; serve immediately, or top it with crumbs and bake it.