Wedding Week: Cheddar beer macaroni & cheese perfect for entertaining

Mass Appeal

(Mass Appeal) – If you’re looking for a delicious meal to make for a dinner party with family or friends, this cheddar beer macaroni & cheese will impress! Jessie-Sierra Ross, Creator of the “Straight to the Hips, Baby” blog joins us with her recipe.

Cheddar Beer Macaroni & Cheese (with Cauliflower!)
INGREDIENTS:

Makes 8 servings

2 cups of large shell pasta (I used Barilla large shells this time)
1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
6 ounces of yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces of Monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 ounces aged parmesan, finely shredded
1 cup of whole or 2% milk
1 cup of amber ale
1/2 cup unseasoned panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch ground cayenne pepper
generous pinch kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 375F, and butter a medium sized baking dish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil and cook the pasta 2 minutes under what the box directions advise.

While the pasta water is heating, place a medium sized pot with two inches of water to boil over high heat.

Wash and trim the cauliflower into small florets.

Once the medium pot of water has come to a boil, drop the cauliflower in and cook until tender (not mushy!), about 8-10 minutes. Drain and put aside.

Shred your cheeses and reserve.

In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on medium high heat, until frothy. Add the flour and stir with a whisk or wooden spoon constantly. Cook until the paste turns an almost nut-brown. This is your roux. (if you don’t get the right color, the flour will taste uncooked!).

Once the roux is cooked, immediately add in the milk and beer.

Continue stirring and cook for 3-5 minutes. The mix will thicken slightly.

Add in the spices.

Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cheeses. Continue to stir until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Combine the cooked pasta and cauliflower with the cheddar beer sauce.

Pour the macaroni and cheese into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the panko breadcrumbs over the top evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly. I like to finish it under the broiler for a minute or two, to give it a bit more color and crunch on top. Be careful not to burn the breadcrumbs!

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