I knew sausage gravy and macaroni and cheese would be fast friends. They both start out the same way, but with different fats. You have the roux that serves as the base for the mac, which is identical to the base of your average sausage gravy. The only difference being one starts with sausage drippings instead of butter.
What makes this macaroni and cheese stand out, though, is a whole lot of garlic powder. I strongly believe garlic powder is an unsung hero in the cooking world. Not in the world of everyday cooks like me – home cooks know it well. You’ll see it in every one of those one-sheet pan dinners, casseroles, or crockpot meals.
In my limited exposure to the upper echelons of the culinary world, I can’t remember one instance where a chef added garlic powder to a dish and owned it. At some level it’s understandable. Fresh garlic is a flavor powerhouse. Why use the tacky, outdated powdered stuff?
But when I add garlic powder, there’s an added yumminess, umami, whatever that magical flavor is. I don’t get that when I add freshly minced garlic. In some dishes, like casseroles, the fresh garlic flavor gets lost. Garlic powder does a better job of permeating the entire dish, and the garlic flavor is tastier, somehow.
All things considered, garlic, is garlic, is garlic – fresh is better in some dishes, while I’ll exclusively use powdered garlic in others.
I saw a recipe for homemade garlic powder on Serious Eats – this is my next frontier. With this mac you’re going to get a whopping sausage, cheese and garlickly bite, and you have good, old, been-there-done-that garlic powder to thank for it. 😊
I N G R E D I E N T S
- 1 box short pasta, of your choosing
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 6 Kraft American Cheese singles
- 1 quart whole milk, scalded
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 stick butter, salted or unsalted
- 3 / 4 lb. sausage of your choosing, casings removed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1 / 2 tablespoons garlic powder
D I R E C T I O N S
- Preheat the oven to 350*.
- Brown the sausage, breaking it down into smaller pieces in a large pot on medium heat until the meat is cooked through, and a bit crispy in places. Add the flour and butter, and cook, stirring until the flour is fully dissolved into the meat, and the butter is melted.
- At this point, add the scalded milk, keeping the heat on medium. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce begins to thicken.
- In the meantime, heat a pot of salted water until boiling. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package instructions. Strain and set aside.
- Once the sauce coats a spoon, add the cheeses and stir until completely incorporated. Add the pasta, salt, pepper and garlic powder and stir to combine.
- Pour the macaroni and cheese into a casserole dish, and bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling hot, and the top is browned.