Bacon, Brussels Sprouts & Beer Mac’n’Cheese

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Oh, what a holy trinity of B’s–bacon, brussels sprouts and beer. Then throw in some smoked gouda, smoked fontina and garlic breadcrumbs and how could you go wrong? That’s right, you can’t. Enjoy 😉

Ingredients:

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 pound of cooked macaroni
6 slices of bacon, chopped
1 shallot, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound of brussels sprouts, stems removed and sliced/chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk + 1 cup beer (something delicious like a nice ale or IPA–there’s a time and a place for light beer but this is not it)
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces smoked gouda cheese, freshly grated
4 ounces smoked fontina cheese, freshly grated
2 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
cayenne pepper (to taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat a large, 12-inch oven-safe skillet oven medium-low heat and add bacon. Cook until crispy. Add in the shallot, half of the garlic and brussels spouts, stirring well to coat. Cook until the brussels soften, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and toss the pasta in with the brussels.

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To make the cheese sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Once it’s sizzling, whisk in the flour to create a roux and cook until it is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the milk, beer and the cream, stirring the entire time and cook until it is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

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Stir in the fontina, gouda and parmesan, stirring until the cheese is melted.  

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Stir in the nutmeg and cayenne. Once the cheese is melted, pour it over the pasta in the skillet and toss well to coat.

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In another skillet heat 1T butter and 1T olive oil. Add the other half of the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the panko breadcrumbs and cook until lightly browned. 

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Distribute evenly over pasta. Top with additional cheese if needed and sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.

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