Mac and Cheese – Michael Style
College boy is home and is getting all of his favorite meals. Tonight I made mac and cheese with turkey sausage, or as he calls it “heart attack on a plate”. I’m not going all Paula Deen on you, but every now and then, a little butter, cheese and pasta is okay. I cook the turkey sausage as I prep the meal. I simmer it in a little water, lid on, for about 20 minutes. I take the lid off and let the water evaporate. As it evaporates, the sausage browns. I lower the heat to medium/low to brown the sausage Remember to turn the sausage to brown all sides. Don’t walk away because the sausage can burn pretty quickly. The browning gives it a wonderful flavor. Drain it on a paper towel and then slice.
1 lb. elbow macaroni – I used the large elbow macaroni
4 cups of milk
1 stick of butter – divided
½ cup flour
2 cups sharp cheese – shredded
2 cups italian style 6 cheese blend (packaged)
8 oz. goat cheese
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ cup of seasoned bread crumbs
1 lb. turkey sausage, cooked and sliced
Heat over to 350 degrees.
Cook elbow macaroni according to directions, about 7 minutes.
To make the white sauce, you need to heat the milk. You can heat it in a saucepan, or carefully microwave it until it is very warm. Do not let it boil.
In the pan, you cooked the elbow macaroni; heat 6 tablespoons of butter on a medium heat, leaving the remaining 2 tablespoons for the topping. Whisk the flour into the melted butter and cook for one minute. Whisk in the heated milk. Continue to whisk until this mixture starts to thicken and becomes smooth. Turn off the heat and add the cheeses, salt, pepper and nutmeg. You can use whatever cheeses you like in this. I often use mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Fontina and Gruyere are very creamy. Goat cheese adds a wonderful tang. So many come packaged that you have many options. I like using several mixtures of cheese. Don’t use more than 6 cups. I prefer 5 cups of cheese. Whisk the cheese until it is melted. Pour in the cooked and drained macaroni and stir until it’s all coated. Add the cut up cooked sausage. Pour into, at least, a 3-quart baking dish. You may want to use a large one. I also cook it with a cookie sheet underneath, in case it bubbles over.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and then add the breadcrumbs. You can use a little more or a little less. You want a nice crumb topping to sprinkle over the macaroni.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until it’s bubbly and the macaroni is slightly browned.