Beer Mac and Cheese
As many of you might already be aware, I am from Wisconsin. Among so many amazing things, Wisconsin is known for cheese, and beer. We are often referred to as ‘Cheeseheads’, and live in the land of dairy. I’m actually cool with all of that. I like the fact that we are known for cheese, especially the fact that we have some really good cheese being produced in our state. Not only that, but we are also known for beer, and great beer at that. So with that said, I thought I would come up with a recipe using both products, and create a beer mac and cheese.
This recipe infuses beer throughout the entire mac and cheese process. I first cook the pasta in beer, then while making the roux for the sauce, I begin slowly adding in beer to make the sauce. It’s a great new take on a mac and cheese, and is geared towards any beer lover.
Let’s get started:
- 1/2 lb of elbow macaroni, or your favorite mac and cheese pasta, cooked before al dente
- 24 oz New Glarus Spotted Cow beer, or your favorite ale
- 5 cups of water
- 6 slices of Nueske’s bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 6 oz IPA beer, or your favorite beer
- 2 cups of grated white cheddar cheese
- 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup of half and half, or 2% milk
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- Generous pinch of salt for pasta water
- Nice pinch of cracked black pepper
Begin by bringing your 24 ounces of beer and water to a boil. Season with salt. Add in the pasta and cook just before al dente, as we are going to finish the pasta off in the oven. During this time, cook the bacon until it is nice and crisp, and set aside to crumble.
Next, get a large enough pan to hold the pasta, as we are going to make the sauce and combine everything together. If you do not have a large pan, don’t worry, as you can combine the two in a mixing bowl before placing in the oven to finish cooking.
Bring the pan to a medium heat, and toss in the butter. Let this melt until it is nice and bubbly. Add in the flour. Stir this with a wooden spoon and cook the flour until it is a nice golden color, then slowly add in the half and half. Continue stirring until all of the lumps are out, then add in the six ounces of beer. Continue stirring until everything is nice and smooth.
Toss in the black pepper, and mustard powder. Stir. Toss in your cheeses, and continue stirring until you have a nice and creamy cheese sauce. Super easy. Super delicious. Things should start smelling like beer. That’s good.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Now, add in the drained and cooked pasta, and the crumbled bacon. Give this a good stir.
I cooked mine in a cast iron skillet which I simply slipped into the oven, however if you are going to transfer everything to a casserole dish, simply spray the inside of the dish with cooking spray, or rub lightly with some butter.
Place this in the oven, uncovered for 30 minutes.
You will notice right off the bat, the aroma of the beer. I liked it. I actually loved it. The great note of the beer infused in the pasta, then the hoppiness from the IPA beer. If you are looking for something different to make for a mac and cheese dish, this might be the one.