Aaah, have you been to the Stone Brewery? It is an experience. Forget Coors, this one is a dining and botanical experience. They have the most beautiful setting, lush gardens, and fine dining right in the heart of Escondido, CA. If you're ever in that neck of the woods.. it comes highly recommended. Every time I go there, I get the Beer Mac n Cheese. And without fail, whoever I am dining with ends up sharing my dish because it is just the best thing ever. I decided to replicate this recipe awhile ago. It doesn't even need the beer.. but for those of you who love a good IPA.. you won't regret including it. There are so many variations.. the possibilities are endless. I once used a hint of blue cheese and loved it. A little of that goes a long way. I've been known to add sun dried tomatoes or bacon instead of sausage.. just whatever the mood.
This is a great mac n cheese for adults. The recipe easily feeds 4 and makes great leftovers. But it's so tasty, you might just eat it all yourself!
What you’ll need:
One bag of elbow macaroni
One beer (I use Stone IPA)
One pound spicy Italian Sausage sliced into quarter inch pieces
1 Cup Extra Sharp Cheddar Grated
1 Cup Aged White Cheddar Grated
½ Cup Gruyere Cheese or hard cheese of your choice, Grated
1 Stick of Salted Butter
1 Cup of milk
3-4 tbs. of flour
Course Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
A pinch of garlic salt
1 large baking pan greased
Cook macaroni in boiling salted water following package directions. Drain and rinse; set aside.
Grease a 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole. Heat oven to 350°.
In a large frying pan, add a touch of butter and sauté sliced sausage pieces until the edges are browned.
Salt them a bit, set aside.
In a medium sauce pan. Heat milk, flour, and add about half the beer to the mixture. (if you use too much it can be too hoppy—boys seem to prefer it that way.. but I thought it was a little overpowering.. half the beer tastes more like the Stone Version). Salt and Pepper the mixture. Add a touch of garlic salt. It should be slightly thick.. (enough to coat the back of a spoon) be careful not to let the milk burn.. just simmer.
**Note: You can also use a heavy cream or half and half. Sometimes it works better.
In a large kettle combine pasta, sausage and all cheeses. Leave a bit of cheese aside to sprinkle on top for oven melting! Stir until cheese is melted. Salt and pepper to taste. I usually have a few bites at this step.
Now spread pasta, cheese and sausage into your baking casserole dish. Pour milk flour mixture evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle with a heavy helping of breadcrumbs and the remaining cheese. Sprinkle top with paprika for color.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top is browned. Serve and enjoy!!!