Homemade mac’n’cheese gets a makeover with succulent Niman Ranch sausage. This will satisfy any comfort food craving and be the most popular dish on the table.
1-lb box shell pasta
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, warmed
2½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups (7-oz) shredded smoked gouda cheese
2½ cups (11-oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 package Niman Ranch Apple Gouda Sausages, cut into ½-inch pieces
Heat oven to 400ºF. Cook pasta in salted water, rinse and set aside.
In a large sauce pot over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in the flour and stir until the mixture is light brown and smells nutty, 3 minutes. Slowly add the warm milk, whisking constantly. When all the milk has been added, bring to a simmer before stirring in the salt, cayenne, black pepper and shredded cheeses. Cook over low heat until the sauce has thickened and cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, thyme and olive oil.
Toss together the sliced sausage, cooked pasta and cheese sauce. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch dish or 3-quart casserole dish. Top with breadcrumb mixture and bake until top has turned golden brown and the cheese sauce is bubbling through the top, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool 10 min before serving.