Guinness and Irish Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese
Flavorful stovetop macaroni and cheese made with Guinness stout, sharp Irish cheddar, and a touch of dijon mustard. Creamy and cheesy with a crunchy garlic breadcrumb topping. A grown up version of a classic!
Servings 6 - 8
Macaroni and cheese:
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons butter* see note
- 2 tablespoons flour* see note
- ⅔ cup Guinness or other stout
- 1 ½ cups 2% milk
- ½ cup half and half
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 ounces cream cheese cut into pieces
- 3 ½ cups grated cheddar (or another good melting cheese) divided (I used Kerrygold cheddar)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- salt/pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
Topping (if using):
In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add garlic and breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted and the mixture is fragrant. Remove from the heat, add salt and pepper to taste and minced parsley. Set aside.
Macaroni and cheese:
Boil elbow macaroni in well salted water and cook until just al dente. Before draining the pasta, reserve a cup of the pasta water and set it aside (see note). While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce:
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together for a minute. While whisking, pour in Guinness, milk, half and half, salt, pepper, and mustard. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking frequently, until it thickens slightly (several minutes).
Add cream cheese and 2 ½ cups grated cheddar and stir/whisk until completely smooth. Add drained, cooked pasta and stir to combine. Add remaining 1 cup grated cheddar and stir until melted (this will help achieve a stringy/cheesy-pull texture). I like to let this mixture sit over low heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, so that the pasta can soak up some of the cheese.
To serve: Transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls and sprinkle the top with the reserved toasted breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.
* This amount of butter and flour creates a fairly thin sauce. For a thicker sauce, you can increase the butter and flour to 3 or 4 tablespoons EACH.
If the macaroni and cheese thickens up too much, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water (or additional milk) to make it creamy again.
Calories: 543kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 591mg | Potassium: 273mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 820IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 451mg | Iron: 1.4mg