We went to an Irish music day at a local brew pub recently and one of the items on the menu was Macaroni and Beer Cheese. Of course my daughter had to try it. She hates the smell of beer, wine, etc… but she loves to have food cooked with them. After tasting it she said that I could make this at home for her.
So, last night we began our experiment. Before it even went in the oven she was eating it right from the sauce pan!
If you are looking for a good side to complement your corned beef brisket or just want something a bit different this was tasty! Both kids loved the bit of flavor added by the lager. If you don’t have a lager on hand use whatever beer you have. My suggestion is don’t use a light beer (is that really beer?) or a pale ale unless you want just a hint of flavor. A red, amber or darker will add the most flavor to this dish.
I served this dish with beer braised brats with onions and peppers. Add a green side salad for a complete meal.
Macaroni & Beer Cheese
- 12 oz pasta
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- dash of Cayenne pepper, if desired
- 3 cups half and half or 2 cups milk and 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup of beer (use your favorite lager, ale, or dark beer for best flavor)
- 4 cups cheese, freshly shredded (sharp cheddar, Fontina, Colby jack all work well – try mixing with at least 2 cups of sharp cheddar for best results)
- salt and black pepper
- 1 extra cup of cheese for topping, if desired
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish with non-stick spray.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- While water is boiling for pasta in a skillet over medium heat melt butter. Once butter has melted add garlic to pan and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes until it becomes fragrant. Be careful not to burn!
- Sprinkle flour over the top of the butter and garlic. Stir to make a paste. Continue stirring for 1-2 minutes while mixture becomes a light golden color. Slowly add half and half (or milk and cream) then beer while stirring constantly. Cook mixture for about 10 minutes until it becomes thick. The mixture will coat the spoon when lifted.
- Remove from heat and add mustard, cheese and Cayenne pepper to the sauce. Stir until well blended and cheese has melted. Taste and adjust spices with salt, pepper, or mustard.
- Add cooked macaroni to pan and stir well. Pour into prepared casserole dish and top with extra cup of shredded cheese if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is golden brown on top and center is hot.
- Remove pan from oven and allow to rest for 3 minutes before serving.