Yeah I cook too. I know I normally post about home projects here, but another thing I do at home (a lot) is eat. I recently got a wild hair to make scratch beer mac n cheese and holy beer boil, Batman. It was good.
Before I get to the nitty-gritty I need to address something. I am a lover of craft beer, local beer, trying new beers, drinking my favorite beers…. If you’ve never tried a Rahr beer, obtain some by any means necessary. This, like all of my other posts thus far, is NOT sponsored by Rahr or anyone else. I just happen to be a huge fan. They’re local to my area – Fort Worth to be exact – and I’ve never tried a single Rahr I didn’t like. Not once. Their brewery tours are ridiculous. Three beers and a tour around fancy machinery? Yes, I’ll have that pleasethanks. Lets get to it, shall we?
- 2 cups dry pasta – I used Farfalle (aka bow-tie pasta) which is my fave pasta shape
- 8 oz white cheddar
- 4 oz gruyere
- 4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled (I used 8… more on that later)
- 1 or 2 green onion stalks (?) chopped
- 1/2 stick of butter
- Rahr Texas Red Beer (you’ll use one and a half bottles in the recipe, but I recommend drinking some too – after you’re done cooking of course)
- 1-2 tsp flour
- Garlic Powder
- White Pepper
- A pan to cook your bacon (unless you’re using bacon bits – I’m not judging)
- 2 pots (one for noodle cookin’ and one for cheese meltin’)
- A glass bowl (you’re gonna want to make a double boiler to melt your cheese)
- A whisk, spoons, colander, cheese grater and other standard cooking tools
- Cook and crumble bacon or open your package of bacon bits
- Shred your cheeses
- Cube or shred your butter
A google search told me that amber lagers pair well with white cheddar (I drink my Rahr with any food), so after a tasting where the fella and I ate a chunk of cheese and then sipped on two of our favorites, we both decided that Texas Red was the winner. Buffalo Butt was a close second, though. Time for happy cooking.
The first thing you want to do is cook your noodles. In beer. I poured one beer and 12 oz of water (just fill your empty bottle) into my pot.
When beer boils, it does crazy things. Keep your heat around 7 or 8 on your stove to avoid this:
When the beer comes to a boil, toss in your noodles. They seemed to take a tad bit longer to cook than when you just cook them normally. If I were bathing in beer, I’d probably hang around longer too. Whenever the noodles are done to your liking, drain them and set them aside.
Meanwhile, make your double boiler. Fill your other pot with water – enough to get good coverage under your bowl but not so much that it will spill over when its boiling. Set your bowl on top of the pot and set your heat to around 8.
Put your butter (half of a stick, remember) in the double boiler and let it melt down. It goes faster if its in chunks or grated. While its melting, pour in half of a bottle of Texas Red. Drink the other half if you please but do it responsibly folks. Just because I drink while I cook doesn’t mean its safe. Do as I say not as… You get the idea. I don’t have pictures of that part so here’s a Texas Red. :)
Your water under your glass bowl should be boiling at this point and hopefully your beer and butter mixture is decently hot. This is when you add in your cheese, bit by bit. Give it a good whip with the ol’ whisk after each oz or so that you add.
I also opted to add about a half tsp of garlic powder and a tsp of white pepper. I like the taste of white pepper better than black, but really you can use whatever spices you’d like at this point. I don’t recommend adding salt to this recipe. The white cheddar and gruyere are rich and salty on their own.
Once your cheese is liquefied (that part takes a bit of patience), you may want to add a tsp or two of flour to thicken the sauce. I added only one, because I like my mac and cheese just slightly on the soupy side.
Then, my friend, put your beer noodles in your bowl of beer cheese and toss to coat.
Put your beer mac n cheese in a bowl, top it with bacon crumbles and green onion, pop open a Texas Red, chow down and drink up. Oh and remember how I said I used 8 strips of bacon? Don’t do that. That’s too much bacon for this dish. I hate myself for saying that, because really there’s never too much bacon, but it’s the truth.
A food photog, I am not, but it tasted 1000 times better than this picture looks. It’s definitely really rich, and more of a hearty winter food than spring, but it was fun to make and damn delicious.
So friends, what is your nearest, dearest craft beer? What about a dish that calls for your favorite frosty? Do tell…