A grown-up take on a classic childhood dish, Creamy Sausage Macaroni and Cheese is as hearty and satisfying as it is easy and simple.
Surely I’m not the only person who grew up eating macaroni and cheese (blue box only, please) with sliced hot dogs mixed in. While I’d like to think my palate is slightly more refined than it was 20 or 25 years ago, child Abby pretty much considered that meal a delicacy. We spent a lot of time each summer with my dad’s mom, Granny, and any day we could convince her to make hot dogs and macaroni was a good day.
Truth be told, there’s probably enough nostalgia attached to that dish that I’d still gladly eat it. But since I can’t quite bring myself to do that, I’m settling for the next best thing: this Creamy Sausage Macaroni and Cheese. Really, though, nothing about this recipe is “settling.” You’ve got hearty chunks of sausage, which can be as mild or as spicy as you’d like. You’ve got the pasta of your choice (for these photos I used a partial box of mini farfalle and a partial box of rotini). You’ve got a creamy, gooey, melty cheese sauce that puts that neon powdered stuff to shame.
If that isn’t enough to convince you to give Creamy Sausage Macaroni and Cheese a try, consider that it comes together in just about 30 minutes and, if you opt for a no-boil pasta, you can make the entire recipe using just one pot. Sold yet? That’s what I thought.
Creamy Sausage Macaroni and Cheese
1 lb. sausage or Bratwurst
1 lb. pasta
4 tbs butter
4 tsp minced garlic
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, or mozzarella all work well)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
Cook pasta according to package instructions and reserve two tablespoons of water after pasta has finished cooking.
While pasta is cooking, cut sausage into half inch rounds and cook in a large skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Remove the sausage and allow it to drain on paper towels. Without cleaning the skillet, add the butter and, when it’s melted, add the garlic. Cook for two to three minutes, or until garlic is golden. Add shredded Parmesan, shredded cheese, and heavy cream, and stir constantly until cheeses are melted. Spoon in the reserved pasta water and allow sauce to cook a couple minutes more. Stir in the black pepper and the red pepper flakes, and then add the cooked and drained pasta and the cooked sausage.
Gently mix everything together until the pasta and sausage are well-coated in cheese sauce.
Tools I Used
- This dish keeps well in the fridge for up to three days and, in my opinion, it gets better as it sits.
- Opt for a variety of sausage that meets your spice and flavor preference.
- Feel free to toss in veggies for extra flavor and nutrition; broccoli would be great.
- Choose a no-boil pasta to make this recipe a one-pot meal.
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