So I would definitely call this recipe a success. I made it for John and Shawn to eat for dinner while they were working on fixing our ceiling, and they loved it. I got to try the leftovers for lunch today, and it’s quite good. The sausage is kind of a weird addition, but it does bump up the protein factor. I find the beer taste rather pronounced; the guys didn’t as much.
As for recipe adaptations, I used whole wheat rotini instead of regular, and full fat cheddar instead of reduced fat (I’m just not into reduced fat cheese, beyond tolerating part skim mozzarella). I also just realized my Italian sausage wasn’t “hot” – oh well.
- 7 ounces uncooked rotini pasta (I used whole wheat)
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 4 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage (I used a chicken/turkey sweet blend)
- 3/4 cup diced onion
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup Guinness Stout beer
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2.5 ounces reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I used full fat)
- 2 ounces light processed cheese, shredded, such as Velveeta Light) (I’m honestly not sure if the Velveeta I used was reduced fat. It said “new recipe” but “light” didn’t seem to exist at my store.
- Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 450.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
While pasta cooks, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Remove casing from sausage. Add sausage and onion to pan; cook 6 minutes, stirring to crumble sausage (my sausage wasn’t particularly crumbly, so I just diced it). Add flour, pepper, and salt; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in beer; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Add milk and cheeses, stirring until smooth. Stir in pasta. Divide mixture evenly among 4 ceramic gratin dishes coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Note: I just cooked mine in one larger gratin dish. I also prepped the mac and cheese ahead of time and just had the guys warm it up in the oven (it took a bit longer to heat through since it was going in cold).