24 June, 2011

Who Let You Cook?! Presents: Mac and Cheese!

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.


TomW said...

I love sausage. There is probably not a way someone could include it in a dish that I would not enjoy its contribution to the meal. Thanks for the recipe - Your creation sounds wonderful.

I live in the South where cornbread is a popular staple. One of the dishes I make every so often is a cheese-laden, sausage cornbread. While tasty, I'll admit it's kind of heavy.

You appear to have an appreciation for different cheeses (and a fridge full of dem). Should you care to expand your horizons, you might try blending cornmeal with cheese & sausage.

I know from past posts Dave will try it, and maybe "the angels will sing" for your mom.

Just a thought,

Jim Weller said...

diced ham is also awesome in mac and cheese.

Lynnafred said...

@Tom - That... That sounds delicious, and something that would be completely up my alley. Thanks for the suggestion; I'm definitely going to try my hand at making it!

I love cheeses - all kinds, with the exception of blue cheese unless it's used as an ingredient. Dave wrinkles his nose at me because there's not a lot that I won't add cheese to: eggs, as a topping on soup, sandwiches, hot dogs, you name it. He prefers cheese be used more sparingly, for lack of a better word.

Anonymous said...

This one sounds amazing! I'm a big fan of both breakfast sausage and Mac and cheese. Only good things can come from putting the two together.

Nethead said...

Someone thought you couldn't add sausage to mac and cheese? I use ham sometimes,and even kielbasa if I have some to use up. That's just cooked sausage.

TomW said...

As much as I like sausage, ham does not do much for me. Kielbasa sounds like a better addition.

As a Curious Fellow, though, I would use Hormel Spam if I had no sausage readily available.

Spam is next to sausage in my list of pork appreciation.


MrsBug said...

My favorite thing to do with boxed mac and cheese is to throw in a drained can of tuna. I don't know what it is about the combo, but I get cravings for it occasionaly.

TomW said...


I would do that in a HEARTBEAT. But wife does not eat anything that swims, and the Boyz would most likely follow up on their mom's reaction.

Your excellent suggestion made me smile because I miss the occasional tuna casserole that was part of my growing up.


servicii contabile said...

In my opinion this is a ver easy recipe, but also delicious so i`m thinking to give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

MightyJesse said...

You should try making cheese sometime... It's a seriously addicting hobby AND, you can age them with Dave's capicolas...