Ghost River Beer Mac and Cheese

IMG_7695 Don't blame me for ruining your diet. Alex's birthday was Sunday, and his number one request was homemade mac. Yet when discussing the dish at our Fourth of July party in New Orleans, a friend mentioned her beer mac and cheese version. If only you could have seen Alex's reaction to the suggested ingredient whilest sipping on a beer. Game over.

Once back in Memphis, we grabbed a bottle of local Ghost River Golden ale from the fridge and got cookin'. The result was perfection. I highly recommend this side for a summer cookout -- it goes well with the grill, which, on ours, boasted bone-in ribeyes. Let me know if you try out this cheesy life-changer!

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Makes 6 servings

2 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow noodles 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons flour 8 ounces milk 8 ounces Ghost River beer 8 ounces freshly grated cheddar cheese 4 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika pinch of black pepper pinch of nutmeg 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil pasta according to box directions, though cut off 2 minutes of cook time since noodles will cook further in the oven. Drain and set in a casserole dish.

2. Heat a saucepan over medium high heat and add butter. Once melted, whisk in flour and cook until bubbly and golden in color, about 2 minutes. Add milk and beer into saucepan, whisking constantly. Add cheeses and stir until melted. Turn heat down to medium and continue to stir for 5-6 minutes while mixture thickens. It will most likely not thicken like regular mac and cheese because of the beer. Stir in pepper, paprika and nutmeg.

3. Pour cheese mixture directly over pasta and gently toss to coat noodles evenly. Top with panko bread crumbs and an additional sprinkle of cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly on top.

4. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

recipe inspired by how sweet eats

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