The Greatest Mac and Cheese Ever

The Greatest Mac & Cheese Ever.

A lofty claim, no?

If you’ve known me for any length of time – or even just follow me on Twitter – you’ve probably figured out that I have a thing for Mac & Cheese.  I’m something of a freak for it.  I’ll order it in fancy restaurants to see what the chef has done.  I’ll make it at home and dress it up in all sorts of ways.  I’m not even opposed to mac & cheese out of a box, although I’ll ask for Annie’s instead of Kraft.

It started about a week ago, when a not-so-Secret Santa gave me some Uli’s Bacon Sausage.  Yes, I said bacon sausage.  Next comes yesterday’s visit to Pike Place Market.  I don’t ever go to Pike Place without stopping at Beecher’s for some cheese.  I’m a nut for Beecher’s Flagship, and it’s my go-to cheese when I’m making cheeseburgers.  This time I walked out with two hunks of something I’d never had before – 4-year-aged Flagship.  I was blown away by how great the sample of this was.  Finally, a visit to World Spice at Pike Place yielded a huge stack of fresh spices, including some amazing chipotle chili powder.

For a while now I’ve been making mac and cheese using the recipe Beecher’s themselves uses, which you can find here.  I always tweak it a little based on what I have on hand and my mood, and that’s what made tonight special.

  • Pan-fry 4 links of bacon sausage until browned and cooked through.  Eat one.  Slice the remaining three into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Start the pasta – a half-pound of penne, in this case.
  • Make a half-recipe of cheese sauce.  Use the (omgsooogood) 4-year-aged Beecher’s.  Realize that you don’t have any Jack in the fridge and substitute Mozzarella.  Ignore the salt as the Flagship is salty enough.
  • Drain the pasta.
  • Mix the pasta with the sausage.  Stir in the cheese sauce.  Pour into a buttered baking dish, top with more cheese, sprinkle on some chili powder, and bake until you can’t wait any longer.
  • Eat.
  • Rave about what you’ve done to your significant other.
  • Write a blog and tweet about it.
  • Put the leftovers – if there are any – in the fridge for a midnight snack.