Mac and Cheese
Everybody loves mac and cheese. This twist on the classic is an ode to the Irish, and perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. When we first made this recipe, I thought it might be an adults only dish; I knew kids could eat it, I thought perhaps they might not like it. I was quickly proven wrong when my colleague’s kids ate it up faster than the boxed stuff. Suffice to say, the whole family will love this recipe!
It’s a pretty easy process, but let’s talk through it anyway.
This recipe starts with the breadcrumb topping, which is an essential component. The crunch is a needed textural difference against the creamy pasta. It’s very simple: melt some of our Fresh Churned Garlic Butter in a small skillet and add some panko breadcrumbs. Lightly toast the breadcrumbs over a medium/low heat. Take it slow, so they don’t burn, and it still won’t take very long. Take it off the heat and stir in some fresh parsley. Set it aside, ready to sprinkle over the finished pasta.
Cook the pasta like you normally would. Just follow the directions on the box.
While it’s boiling, make the cheese sauce. Start with a basic roux: Garlic Butter and flour. Then slowly whisk in a special Irish ingredient: Guinness. Don’t worry, the alcohol will cook out, leaving behind a deep flavor. Add some milk and half and half, along with some dijon mustard for an extra tang.
Once the sauce has thickened slightly, add two cheeses: cream cheese and a bunch of shredded sharp Cheddar. I recommend finding some Irish cheddar, but any kind of sharp cheese will work.
Once everything melts together, add in your cooked pasta, stir it around, and top with the toasted breadcrumbs from above.
Irish Cheddar Mac and Cheese
For the breadcrumbs:
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
For the Macaroni and cheese:
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 T flour
⅔ cup Guinness
1½ cups milk
½ cup half and half
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 T dijon mustard
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces
3½ cups sharp cheddar (Irish cheddar if possible), grated
- To make the topping:
- Melt Garlic Butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until breadcrumbs are lightly toasted. Remove from the heat, and add minced parsley. Stir to combine, then set aside.
- To make the mac and cheese:
- Boil macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Save 1 cup of pasta water for later.
- In a large sauce pan, melt Garlic Butter over medium heat. Add flour, and whisk to combine. Cook 1 minute, then slowly whisk in Guinness, milk, and half and half. Then add salt, pepper, and dijon mustard.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens slightly. Add cream cheese and cheddar, and stir until melted.
- If the mixture is too thick, add some pasta water to thin it out.
- Add cooked pasta, and stir to coat in cheese sauce.
- Sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs over the top and serve.