Describing this dish is fun. You’ll see. When you make it and you realize it’s way too much food for 2 people, and you invite your friends over to feast, and try describing what’s for dinner to them. “It’s like mac n’ cheese with mushrooms and sausage. Wait… no, it’s like stuffed mushroom pasta.” “What?” “You know, when you make stuffed mushrooms with sausage and cream cheese and bread crumbs… so picture that inside mac n’ cheese. In.Side.” Then you’ll get a bunch of ohhhhh’s and okaaaaay’s… and they’ll be on time to dinner, wearing stretchy pants ready to be filled.
Making a roux.
As much fun as it is to talk about this dish, it’s better to just eat it. Even re-heated. Mac n’ cheese makes great leftovers. My only problem is that sometimes when I make something really rich like this, and I’m taste testing along the way (obviously) I get over it pretty quickly. Maybe that’s just me? But you know when it’s finally time to serve it and you’re like, “Oh, I can’t even smell one more creamy mushroom… I’ll have the salad.” Talk about first world problem.
Stuffed Mushroom Mac n’ Cheese
1 lb. whole wheat macaroni (I didn’t necessarily do this for the health factor, but for the texture and nutty flavor.)
3 portobello mushroom caps, cut into 1″ chunks
1 lb. hot italian sausage, removed from casing
1/3 cup butter
2 heaping tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half n half
1/4 cup parmesan
salt and pepper
1 block cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
freshly grated parmesan, for serving
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Remove sausage from casing and cook in saucepan over medium heat, breaking it up into chunks as you go. Once fully cooked, remove from pan and let sit on paper towels to drain off some of the grease.
Cut up mushrooms, and saute in same pan until all the moisture is released. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In your largest pan, melt butter and add flour, whisking until a paste is formed (you’re making a roux) and let cook, continuously stirring for about 2 minutes. Start adding in your half n half and milk, a little at a time, whisking the whole time. Add in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
Once thickened, add in the macaroni, mushrooms, and sausage. Stir to combine and then add in the cream cheese, cubed up. Keep on medium heat, stirring occassionally until the cream cheese is fully melted. Turn your broiler on high.
Spray a 9×13 glass pan with cooking spray and pour mixture into pan, leveling it out a bit. Combine melted butter and panko in a bowl and sprinkle over mixture. Put in oven with the broiler on high, just long enough for the top to brown. This won’t take long! Keep an eye on it!
Serve with freshly grated parmesan.