I can hardly believe St. Patrick’s day is less than a week away! How will you be celebrating? Corned beef and cabbage? Shamrock shakes and green beer? I thought I would mark the occasion by giving a comfort food classic an Irish twist – St. Paddy’s Day Mac and Cheese. I’ve added in Guinness Stout and Irish Cheddar Cheese to give a childhood favourite a flavourful, grown-up makeover. It’s decadent, creamy and so delicious. I bet you’ll never make regular Mac and Cheese again! Happy St. Paddy’s Day!
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2/3 cup Guinness or other stout
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
4 cups grated cheddar
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
salt/pepper to taste
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add half the garlic powder and breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted and the mixture is fragrant. Remove from the heat, add salt and pepper to taste and minced parsley. Set aside.
Boil elbow macaroni in well salted water and cook until just al dente. Before draining the pasta, reserve a cup of the pasta water and set it aside.
While the pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together for a minute. While whisking, pour in Guinness, milk, half and half, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking frequently, until it thickens slightly (several minutes).
Add 3 cups of the grated cheddar and stir/whisk until completely smooth. Add drained, cooked pasta and stir to combine. Add remaining 1 cup grated cheddar and stir until melted. If the mixture is too thick, add the pasta water a little at a time to thin it out. Let the mixture sit over low heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, so that the pasta can soak up some of the cheese.
Transfer to a serving dish or individual bowls and sprinkle with toasted breadcrumbs and enjoy!
Photography: MJay Photography