Easy Beer Mac and Cheese.
Is there anything better than macaroni and cheese? I mean… really?
I don’t think so either.
Sure, we can all make the argument for chocolate or bacon or broccoli (um, who are you and what are you doing on this website?), but in the end we know that mac and cheese is in a league of it’s own.
It’s a weapon, really.
You can get whatever it is that you want with the perfect dish of cheesy noodles. Except maybe like five million dollars, which I reallllly need because I have a lot of shoes to buy and a lot of bacon to fry. And thanks to the invention of the internet I can do both at once. Winning.
Remember the night that I made this beer mac and cheese and served it with BBQ portobello sliders and couldn’t stop talking about it for four days because it was an ohhh so good meal and everyone within close proximity just wanted me to shut my trap? No… you probably don’t. Because I only subjected my real life friends and family to such misery and not my invisible internet friends. I seriously have no idea how I waited so long to tell you about this but for some reason I found things like cookies and cupcakes and even breakfast to be more important. Oh, and I kind of forgot about it because I have sooo much on my mind, like wondering when the heck I’m going to get to see Crazy Stupid Love (waiting is getting ridiculous) and really – I mean REALLY – are Ari and Mrs. Ari going to get back together (?!?) because they only have like, three more weeks. I can’t even take this.
But in the meantime… have you ever had beer cheese soup? It’s only one of the most delicious bowls of comfort you will ever taste and is always an essential part of my Octoberfest feast, which lasts much longer than just October. This pasta is like beer cheese soup… WITH CARBS. And crunch.
So yes. I’m fully convinced that a good bowl of mac and cheese can score you an engagement ring or maybe even just a free movie ticket or something. If anything, it makes the day that your credit card statement appears in the mail about a billion times better. Betcha Judy Blume never told you that.
Easy Beer Mac and Cheese
[inspired by my cousin, who mentioned beer mac on vacation last month]
2 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow noodles
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
8 ounces milk
8 ounces beer (I used an amber beer – it was what I had on hand)
8 ounces freshly grated cheddar cheese
4 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch of black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
10 large basil leaves, chopped for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare water for pasta and boil according to directions, shaving 1-2 minutes off of cooking time since pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
Heat a saucepan over medium high heat and add butter. Once melted and sizzling, whisk in flour to create a roux and cook until bubbly and golden in color, about 2 minutes. Add milk and beer into saucepan whisking constantly, then add cheeses and stir until melted. Turn heat down to medium and continue to stir, cooking for 5-6 minutes while mixture thickens. It will most likely NOT thicken like regular mac and cheese because of the beer, but you want it to thicken a little bit. Stir in pepper, paprika and nutmeg.
Add noodles (once cooked and drained) to a 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 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then top with fresh basil.
There is only one way this can get better: bacon.