When it comes to comfort food, everyone’s got their top five, but no one can disagree: Mac and cheese reigns supreme. There’s something about even the basest combination of pasta and saucy cheese that makes it as satisfying to cook as it is to eat. Because it’s such a blank canvas, it means everyone also has their own take on how to put together this classic dish.
This week, in the spirit of staying home and keeping cozy, we’re offering a recipe that’s a collaboration between our Beer Buyer, Brian Cullen, and our own Carla Bueno. Plymouth Hot Pepper Cheddar provides a strong base with a nice kick, while Aarewasser brings a buttery, raclette-style richness that will deepen all your flavors.
Brian recommends the Greenhouse Pils from Evil Twin Brewing NYC to pair with this mac. This super crisp, light yet flavorful German-style pilsner balances perfectly against the dense, savory richness of the king of comfort food.
1 lb (or 500g) macaroni pasta
1/2 lb Plymouth Hot Pepper Cheddar, coarsely grated
1/2 lb Aarewasser, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp cultured butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp ground sage
Salt & pepper to taste
2-4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Let’s Get Cooking!
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or otherwise grease a 9×13 baking pan and set aside.
- In a large pot, bring salted boiling water to a boil, and cook your pasta of choice according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt 2 tbsp butter in large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Cook garlic in butter for no longer than 30 seconds, then add flour and whisk to create your roux. Reduce temperature to medium-low.
- Begin pouring heavy cream in small quantities into your roux, whisking as you go to create your bechamel. Refrain from pouring until previous pour has fully combined with the roux.
- Repeat with buttermilk. Remember, you don’t need to rush this!
- Once your bechamel is complete, add salt, pepper, paprika, mustard, and sage. Let simmer while you chop your scallions.
- Add that cheese into your bechamel! Set a small amount of cheddar aside, equivalent to about 1/8 cup.
- Once the cheese is fully incorporated, add your cooked pasta and chopped scallions, mixing well.
- Pour the entire contents of the sauté pan into your 9×13 greased baking pan.
- In a small skillet, melt remaining tbsp of butter and add your breadcrumbs, toasting and coating them. Combine with remaining cheddar and quickly spread the mixture across the top of the macaroni and cheese.
- Place baking pan in oven for 30 minutes until breadcrumb topping is crispy, then allow to cool before serving. Don’t forget the beer!