‘Tis the time of year for parties, and these days the invite usually says BYOB and Potluck. If you like heavy and dark beers, bring Category 12’s Excitation – it is an espresso cocoa nib stout that will have you singing holiday tunes until the new year. But that’s for another day, today I want to give you a guaranteed crowd-pleasing dish. I took this to a party recently and people nearly fell out of their chairs they found it to be so good.
Mac n’ Cheese. Who doesn’t love a steaming plate or bowl of homemade elbow noodles swimming in cheesy goodness? I was given this recipe by a co-worker, changed a few things which I have put into the recipe below, and I will give you a few other ideas to make the dish your own. This recipe, however, followed to the T will make your guests or fellow party-goers very happy and going back for seconds, so maybe double it! Plus, it takes less than an hour, which is not something baked Mac n’ Cheese can brag about. I actually took it to the house of the party and made it there as it is better served fresh and hot. I tried it once at home with a rosé wine which was delicious, but for this one I used Driftwood Brewing’s White Bark Witbier and it paired perfectly. By adding a little blue cheese and brie it elevated it to a 3 cheese blend full of depth and a flavour journey that kept evolving throughout each bite.
White Bark Mac n’ Cheese
4 Tbsp butter
4 shallots (diced)
4 cups elbow pasta (dry)
2 cups White Bark Witbeer (one Bomber)
3 cups medium cheddar (grated)
½ cup blue cheese (diced)
½ cup brie cheese (diced)
2 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp cream
Did I mention this is all done in one pot?
Melt butter in large sauce pan over med-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until softened. Add dry pasta and beer and cook until all liquid has evaporated, stirring constantly. Test doneness of pasta – I made this with whole wheat pasta the first time and had to double the liquid, add more beer if needed. Turn heat down to med-low and add cheeses, stirring until melted. Add final butter and cream and stir until smooth. Dish out a big serving with a smile.
Cut up a gourmet bratwurst or two and add with the cheese for a grown-up version of KD and hot dogs.
Use any cheese combo you like, I tried it first with cheddar and parmesan.
The original recipe called for chicken stock, I’ve used wine and beer, try any liquid you want.
Garnish with chives (original recipe suggestion) or fresh green onions.
Add any veggies you like, it would be yummy with frozen peas, or red and green peppers (see what I did there?)
The first time I made it, I used bacon fat to sauté the shallots and added minced garlic.