Macaroni and Cheese with Spicy Sausage for Grown-Ups
This is the ultimate comfort food for a cold, windy winter evening. Don’t make it too often or you’ll have to go on an extra exercise program!
No-stick cooking spray or margarine
1 pound spicy bulk sausage (We like Jimmy Dean’s)
6 slices thick sliced bacon, cut into small dice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk, or more if needed, hot
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups grated Colby cheese, plus ½ cup more for top
1 ½ cups grated sharp New York cheddar cheese, plus ¼ more for top
1 ½ cups grated Monterrey Jack cheese, plus ¼ cup more for top
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus ¼ cup more for the top
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked just a bit less than al dente (about 6 minutes)
1 teaspoon dried parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375° Spray or butter the bottom and sides of a larger-sized casserole dish (9 x 13-inch or 10 x 15-inch) and set it aside.
- Cook macaroni until slightly underdone, about 6 minutes. Rinse and hold.
- In large frying pan, crumble and brown 1 pound spicy bulk sausage. When completely cooked, remove to a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess fat. Spread the sausage in the bottom of the greased casserole dish.
- Cook the diced bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat until starting to crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain off the extra bacon grease.
- Add the garlic to the bacon fat in the pan and cook for one minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk, raise the heat to high, and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Note: Before whisking in the egg yoks, condition them first by adding a small quantity of the hot milk mixture to the beaten egg yolks. Then add the eggs to the remaining hot mixture, whisking all the time. This allows the eggs to be used as a thickener rather than just turning into scrambled eggs.) Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the thyme, cayenne, and all the different cheeses until completely melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Put the cooked macaroni in a large bowl, add the cheese sauce, reserved cooked, diced bacon, parsley, and stir until combined. Gently pour this mixture on top of the cooked, crumbled sausage in the casserole dish.
- Combine the additional cheese for the topping and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese mixture. Bake until the dish is heated through and the top is a light golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Bonus: This is especially good served with applesauce and green beans.
Thanks to my daughter Jessica for giving me Bobby Flay’s Throwdown! Cookbook with More than 100 recipes from Food Network’s Ultimate Cooking Challenge. I have really learned a lot about how to step up my cooking. If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also want to try Cheese and Sausage Stuffed Zucchini.
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