A few days ago, I was surprisingly inspired by a conversation that took me back to middle school, growing pains and first crushes. I took a walk down memory lane and ended up in my old playground, comparing the ways of love, both then and now. A light went on, a recipe came to mind and a true story slowly emerged (for the scoop go here).
Now, if I could pick just one dish that oozes with affection, a classic our mothers made to welcome us home after school, to be shared with kids on the block, the one that even now makes us all warm and fuzzy inside—then it would have to be Mac and Cheese.
For those of you who long to be worshipped and adored for your culinary prowess—prepare for overwhelming accolades. Try this recipe and your inner circle will undoubtedly crown you—King or Queen of Mac and Cheese!
Be advised, this is real food porn—an American classic, all grown up.
It’s bold, beautiful and full of beer, making this the perfect starter to butter up guests. Looking to impress someone special? Then dinner for two at your place could be quite promising. That I can assure you.
Before you begin, here are a few tips to put you in “Mac Mode”:
- Break this recipe down into three activities: sauté (the prosciutto and mushrooms), simmer (the macaroni), and bake (it all up).
- Forget the water and say hello to an amazing milk, cheese and beer bath for your macaroni! I chose to have them swim in a light ale called Belgian Witbier (wheat beer), which beautifully complements creamy cheeses, meats and heartier meals.
- Italian Macaroni rules! Why? Because, unlike the smooth surface of elbow macaroni, the ribbed texture of Italian macaroni was made to soak up that decadent cheese sauce—which makes the meal. Am I right?
- Speaking of cheese: Before you add the macaroni, you will need to add the cheese slowly, about 1/3 cup at a time, whisking the cheese religiously as it melts. If cheese catches to the tip of the whisk, no worries. Simply give it a gentle tap, releasing the cheese and continue whisking before adding the next bit of cheese.
- Simmer and stir the pasta regularly. This silky, milky and boozy concoction needs pampering and patience. Keep the flame just under medium heat and work that wooden spoon.
- Don’t overcook the macaroni: Technically the pasta will undergo two rounds of cooking—first with the milk and beer, but just before it reaches “al dente”. Then, bake it in the oven topped with even more good stuff.
- Eat now. Exercise later: If you are on a diet, yet religiously reward yourself after a week of stellar behavior, then look no further. WISE SUGGESTION: Invite friends and family to help remove tempting leftovers come Monday. Trust me. 🙂
- Check out more photos under the “Method” tab for a step by step visual on your road to Beer Mac and Cheese bliss!