SNACKS ON SNACKS: Spicy Mac N' Cheese

Following up last week's inaugural post won't be easy, but we think we've found a worthy competitor. Despite the fact that she is a Michigan Wolverine, we can promise this dish is absolutely delicious. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the owner of Steeltown Delicious, Mrs. Junny, and her Spicy Mac N' Cheese! Bon appetit...


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Well, Jeff’s got a craving again. He doesn't make food requests that often, but I'm starting to sense a pattern when he does. First, Beef Stroganoff and now, Mac and Cheese. This boy is hung up on COMFORT food.

But this Mac and Cheese came with rules:

Jeff: "Can you not put bread crumbs on it this time?"

(I prefer them because they give a nice crunch in contrast to the creamy pasta...)

oh, and...

Jeff: "Also, can you throw in some sort of spicy meat...;.and maybe some mushrooms..."

If you are intrigued by this dish, you and Jeff might be food soul mates. I admit, it does look pretty tasty.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta to a chewy al dente, about 8 minutes.

In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on paper towel lined plate.

Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms are lightly golden.

Pre-heat broiler to high.

To mushrooms, add flour and stir, cooking 2 minutes. Make sure you let the flour cook for these two minutes BEFORE adding the liquid. Otherwise, your sauce will taste like raw flour...

Whisk in stock, then stir in cream. Bring cream to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of cheese blend.

When cheese has melted into sauce and comes to a bubble, remove from the heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.

Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta, transfer to baking dish, casserole or oven safe serving platter. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese blend and the grated Parmesan over the top and put under hot broiler until the cheese turns bubbling and brown. Takes about 5 minutes, but keep an eye on it.

Enjoy the cheesy goodness!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ziti rigate, penne rigate or cavatappi (ribbed, hollow corkscrews)
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (sweet or hot)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 12 crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (10-ounce) sack, 2 1/2 cups, shredded Italian cheese blend, available on dairy aisle
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, a couple of handfuls

Yields 6 to 8 servings
Adapted from Rachael Ray, 30 Minute Meals

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Thank you to Mrs. Junny for submitting (and cooking; seriously, I ate this at five separate meals over three days) this week's SNACKS ON SNACKS edition.

Once again, we're seeking contributions for next week. Everyone seems to have some great things to say about their dishes, so put your food where our mouths are. We'll open the front page to you; all you need to do is show us how to make some delicious meal and we'll even let you wax poetic on the quarterback battle, Pat Chambers, or whatever else is on your mind. All you need to do is email me at the link at the bottom of the page. We look forward to what you guys have to offer...until then, Stay Hungry, My Friends.

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