Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cooking with Beer - Beer Cheese Fondue Macaroni & Cheese

Nothing says comfort food to me quite like homemade macaroni and cheese. It's warm, gooey and cozy. But can I leave it at that? No can do. I had to add beer.

What I ended up with was warm, gooey and AWESOME!  The sprinklin' of crumbled crispy bacon had a little something to do with that, though.


Everything is better with beer and bacon.
I used my hubby's home brewed nut brown ale for this recipe. You can use whatever might strike your fancy. Just keep in mind, stronger beer makes for stronger flavor and lighter tasting beer will be more subtle. Brown ale was just right.


Beer Cheese Fondue Macaroni & Cheese

1 Package (16 Ounces) Gemelli Pasta
1/4 Cup Butter
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Ground Mustard
1 Tsp Salt
3/4 Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
2 Cups Half And Half
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Cup Brown Ale
3 Cups (12 Ounces) Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 Cups (8 Ounces) Shredded Fontina Cheese
2 Tbsp Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
6 Bacon Strips Thick Cut
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Cup Ritz Cracker Crumbs

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

Cook pasta until al dente, check the package for time. You want the pasta to be a little firm because it will continue cooking in the oven. Drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon until crispy. Set aside.

In the same pot you cooked the pasta in, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add
garlic; cook for 1 minute until it is softened and fragrant.

Stir in the flour, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth. Then whisk in the half and half, cream and beer. Whisk until smooth.

Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the cheeses and stir until melted. Then stir in the pasta.

Pour into a butter casserole dish.  It may be a little loose but will thicken as it bakes.

Crumble the bacon on top of the macaroni and cheese mixture.

In a small saucepan, melt the additional 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in cracker crumbs and mix until crumbly.

Sprinkle buttered cracker crumbs over the top of the macaroni and cheese and bacon.

Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes until top is browned and cheese is bubbly.

Serve with a slab of ham steak or whatever makes you happy.

I tell you what. This mac and cheese makes me happy!

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