Well, Jeff’s got a craving again. He doesn’t make food requests that often, but I’m starting to sense a pattern when he does. First, Beef Stroganoff and now, Mac and Cheese. This boy is hung up on COMFORT food.
But this Mac and Cheese came with rules:
Jeff: “Can you not put bread crumbs on it this time?”
(I prefer them because they give a nice crunch in contrast to the creamy pasta…)
Jeff: “Also, can you throw in some sort of spicy meat….and maybe some mushrooms….”
If you are intrigued by this dish, you and Jeff might be food soul mates. I admit, it does look pretty tasty….
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta to a chewy al dente, about 8 minutes.
In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on paper towel lined plate.
Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms are lightly golden.
Pre-heat broiler to high.
To mushrooms, add flour and stir, cooking 2 minutes. Make sure you let the flour cook for these two minutes BEFORE adding the liquid. Otherwise, your sauce will taste like raw flour…
Whisk in stock, then stir in cream. Bring cream to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of cheese blend.
When cheese has melted into sauce and comes to a bubble, remove from the heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.
Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta, transfer to baking dish, casserole or oven safe serving platter. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese blend and the grated Parmesan over the top and put under hot broiler until the cheese turns bubbling and brown. Takes about 5 minutes, but keep an eye on it.
Enjoy the cheesy goodness!
- 1 pound ziti rigate, penne rigate or cavatappi (ribbed, hollow corkscrews)
- 1 pound Italian sausage (sweet or hot)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 12 crimini mushrooms, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 (10-ounce) sack, 2 1/2 cups, shredded Italian cheese blend, available on dairy aisle
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, a couple of handfuls