Sunday, September 19, 2010

Italian Mac and Cheese Bake

Alright! This was my first attempt at making homemade mac and cheese! I would say it was successful! :) I also added Italian sausage and baked it to make a casserole. I also added breadcrumbs, which I may not do in the future. It is a texture that some people love, and others find a bit odd.

FYI- This is one of those recipes that you need to be focused on. In order to get everything done at about the same time, you need to have a routine down. You will also have the oven preheating and about 3 burners going. :)

1 bag (elbow noodles or your choice)
2 cups Half and Half)
4 Tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar)
Mild Italian Sausage (I used 5 links)
Salt and Pepper (several shakes)
4 Tablespoons butter

First of all, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In the mean time, fill a pan with water and your noodles. Go ahead and get that boiling and ready. :) In the mean time, put your italian sausage in the skillet and let it simmer and cook. (This will take awhile if they are not already cooked.) It may be a good idea to have these cooked ahead of time, and everything will go at a faster pace.

Now, you are ready to start preparing the cheese sauce. First, melt the butter in the sauce pan. Gradually pour in the flour, while stirring it all with a whisk. Gradually add the Half and Half and stir for about 2 minutes, while it boils. Then you will gradually pour in the shredded cheese, while you stir. You will notice the sauce will start to get thicker! Let it continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

Once the noodles are done, you will go ahead and drain them! Go ahead and add a little olive oil or melted butter during this process. Then add the cheese sauce to the noodles. Once the Italian sausage is done, cut it into bite size pieces and mix it into the noodles. Then put all of this is a casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs (optional). I used Italian breadcrumbs, which was good. However, make sure you sprinkle the bread crumbs and don't pour. Put the dish into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown! Then you are done! :)

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