Sometimes you just need to indulge yourself in a full on “fat kid food” day. You know the kinda day where you wear your largest, stretchiest sweatpants and no calories are counted. This is exactly what I did here with this massively cheesy and meaty mac & cheese along with a side of these quick and tasty Instant Pot ribs.
Let’s be honest – there’s no diet going on here. I’m cooking to eat, and I’m able to portion my food like an adult. Will I gain the #QuarantineFifteen? Highly plausible.
The recipe follows that of a basic mac & cheese, just using the rendered sausage fat in the roux.
And there is quite a good amount of fat that gets rendered, but it’s a good thing and will replace the amount needed from other sources such as butter or oil. Bonus is that the sausagey flavor will disperse into the sauce.
A little sprinkle of flour gets added to start the thickening process.
Then SLOWLY add in the milk. It’s easier if you have a pot of warmed milk nearby, but ain’t nobody got the time for that (hint: me).
A large wad of the roux will form, but eventually it’ll turn into this beautiful liquid gold with enough milk poured in. As tasty as it is at this moment, we will do the unthinkable, and add cheese!
Doesn’t matter if you shred or chop the cheese, just for the love of god please do NOT buy pre-shredded cheese. That shit is full of sawdust or whatever it is so pieces don’t stick together. It makes the sauce taste gritty and just bad.
On the lowest heat possible, keep stirring until the cheese is melted fully. Feel free to keep dipping in for taste precautions, and adjust seasonings if needed.
Once the sauce is optimum, throw in the cooked pasta.
Pair the deadly mac & cheese with these equally delectable ribs for a fattening and satisfyingly meal. Bonus tip if you eat off a paper plate with plastic utensils for real classiness!
- 1-1.5 lb Italian sausage (I had about 1.25 lbs of spicy, but sweet works as well), casing removed
- 1 lb cheese(s) of your choice (I used half Muenster and half sharp cheddar), grated or finely diced
- 1 lb pasta (elbows make the most sense, but anything with holes or pockets)
- about 3 cups milk
- 4 tb flour
- 1.5 teaspoon garlic powder
- dash of nutmeg
- salt and pepper, to taste
- red chili pepper flakes, to taste
- In a large pot, add a splash of vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the Italian sausage out of the casing. You can either squeeze the meat out through either side, or use scissors to slice the casing off. Basically get the crumbled ground sausage meat into the pan evenly.
- Use a wooden spoon to break the sausage into pieces. Should be about 5 or so minutes to fully brown. Do NOT drain the fat.
- Left over should be about 4 tablespoons of fat rendered. If not, add a little more oil or butter. Reduce to medium heat, add the flour, and stir for a few minutes until it comes together. Season with nutmeg, garlic powder, and salt/pepper to taste. Keep stirring until all flour has been absorbed by the fat.
- Reduce to lower heat and super slowly add the milk. Like start with a few tablespoons at first, stir, and once homogeneous, slightly add more. Each round add more and more milk until it becomes creamy, about 3 cups worth. It might take up to 10 minutes of stirring for the sauce to come together, but it’ll be worth it because you don’t want a clumpy sauce.
- In a separate pot, cook the pasta according to directions for al dente. Strain and keep pasta to the side.
- Back to the bechamel sauce, add the cheese and stir until fully melted on very low heat. Keep stirring, and taste for seasoning. I added more pepper, garlic powder, and some red chili flakes. Turn off heat once the sauce is good.
- Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, mix through, and serve while warm.
Pair with these Instant Pot ribs for the full fatty experience!