Do I have your attention? Beer AND macaroni and cheese…together? Um, yeah. This idea all started on Mother’s Day. I decided that I was taking the day off from pretty much every household duty on Mother’s Day. That included cooking, so we opted to order take out from Granite City. Not our first choice as we have had pretty terrible service there lately but took another chance while spending a gift card (as in not our own money!). I saw an “adult mac & cheese” item on the menu and took a chance. Here’s the description: Pepper jack, alfredo sauce, and cheddar cheeses simmered with our brother benedict’s bock. Finished with chicken, red pepper flakes, bacon and toasted breadcrumbs. So we called in our order and my husband went to pick it up 25 minutes later, as the hostess had told him. He arrived and proceeded to wait another 30-40 minutes and finally got a manager to find our food who then gave us another gift card for more money than we originally spent with the first gift card. Argh!! That means we have to go back there again! We opened up the sacks of food and mine had zero chicken and had a child’s portion of cold, greasy rigatoni noodles in it. Not worth the $13. Bummer. I had to find a way to make this at home so that I could try to erase that experience out of my mind. Sure enough, a few days later, I spotted this recipe on Foodgawker. I made a few alterations to the original, but it was so yummy and totally made up for the horrible Granite City experience.
Beer Mac & Cheese
8 oz. elbow macaroni or penne (I buy ours in bulk and used about 6 handfuls of penne)
1 stick of butter
2 T. grated onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. amber beer
1 C. half & half (or milk)
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
3/4 C. shredded colby-jack cheese
4 slices of bacon, cooked and finely crumbled (using blender/mini chopper)
1 C. panko breadcrumbs
1 T. butter, melted
1 T. finely chopped parsley
Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a medium casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. May also use ramekins or other small baking dishes for individual servings.
Boil a large pot of salted water and cook pasta a few minutes less than package directions indicate. Drain.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Add onion, salt, pepper, ground mustard and cayenne and cook for about one minute. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Continue whisking until it has reached a light brown color. Add the beer and half & half (or milk) and whisk. Add cream cheese (cut up into 1-oz. portions) and whisk until melted. Turn heat down to medium-low and slowly add remaining cheeses, stirring/whisking after each addition. Once all cheese is incorporated and mixture is smooth, turn off heat and fold in cooked pasta. Pour into greased casserole dish.
*The original recipe called for considerably more cheese and of various types. This is what we had on hand and in smaller amounts. Feel free to experiment-would also be delicious with a smoked cheese.
To make the crumb topping, mix the crumbled bacon, panko breadcrumbs, butter and parsley together in a small bowl. Spread evenly over the pasta. Bake 30-40 minutes until hot, bubbly and the breadcrumbs are browned. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from Evil Shenanigans