It’s actually quite difficult for my heart to look at these pictures and be reminded of the journey I took with this Guinness macaroni and cheese last night. We had such a special time together. An entire 32 seconds of bliss, broken up only once by a baby in my house that required some swaddling, swinging, and shushing.
In other news, I am totally mastering this Happiest Baby on the Block business after speed-reading through the entire book in 30 minutes. But I think I may have dropped $15 at Barnes and Noble on straight-up common sense. Wah wah.
I know someone who's reading this right now and also reminiscing about their special stomach rendezvous with this gorgeous macaroni and cheese. And in honor of her birthday today, I dedicate this recipe to Meredith, one of my oldest and truest friends. Mer, I'm sincerely hoping you're not taking offense to this.
I've introduced you to Mer before. We have about 148,03,954 memories together, more than several of which revolve around sharing a comfort meal. I don't have too many regrets in life, but I do regret not cooking for her...us...more when we were roommates. Back then I did have the little I-Love-To-Cook seed within me, I just never really planted it. Something about having no counter space and hand-me-down equipment made cooking anything more than a single lady dinner of veggies/chicken/rice/salsa a real drag.
Mer looooves mac and cheese. I think her favorite kind has lobster in it (she's a real classy lady), but cooking lobster on a busy weeknight might be out of most people's realm of sanity. Really though, who doesn't love mac and cheese? I think no one. No one doesn't love mac and cheese. There's a little brain teaser for your Thursday afternoon.
Actually, my dad doesn't love mac and cheese. More like he hates it with every fiber of his being. Dad, somehow I think if I told you this was called "cheesy gemelli pasta with sausage, spinach, and beer" you would eat it. Is this true?
Because really thats all it is. A cheesy, gooey casserole filled with sausage, pasta, and spinach thats been steeped in Guinness and slathered with cheese. And it's healthy. Did I mention that? Should you make this? I don’t even want to tell you what would happen if you didn’t.
Happy birthday, Meredith!
Stout Mac and Cheese
Adapted from Cooking Light
1 lb gemelli or other small pasta, uncooked
2 tsp canola oil
1 lb turkey sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbs flour
1 c Guinness beer
1/3 c skim or reduced-fat milk
2.5 oz reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 oz baby spinach
2 tbs parsley (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray, and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, and set aside.
While the pasta cooks, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and coat the pan well. Add the sausage and onion to the pan, and cook 6 minutes, stirring to crumble the sausage. Add in the flour, salt, and pepper, and cook for 1 minute stirring frequently.
Stir in the beer, and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, and add in the milk and cheese, stirring until smooth.
Stir in the pasta and spinach. Spoon the mixture into the prepared casserole dish, and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Garnish with parsley as desired.