Cajun Mac & Cheese

I have a confession. I originally did make something using andouille sausage for the Holiday Recipe Club blog hop yesterday, and it was this mac and cheese. Instead I had decided to post something that was a little more in the spirit of the Mardi Gras holiday (hence the bananas foster muffins). But now it’s time to share the savory side of how this holiday was celebrated in my kitchen.

I cannot recall the last time I ate andouille sausage but such a question will become easy to answer now that I have made this because I definitely plan to make it again. Recipes that take traditional mac and cheese for a spin by adding other ingredients and seasonings, such as seen in this recipe, are some of my favorites. Mac and cheese really is a great base for the construction of a very delicious meal – after all, how can you go wrong with pasta and cheese?

One year ago: Pizza Bagels

CAJUN MAC & CHEESE

Serves 4

Ingredients:

12 ounces whole-wheat pasta

2 Tbsp olive oil

6 oz. andouille sausage, diced

2 bunches green onions, sliced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 Tbsp Cajun spice blend

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 cups 2% milk

8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 1 minute less than package directs. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water then drain pasta.
  2. In a large, deep skillet heat olive oil over high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until it begins to brown. Add onions and pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the Cajun seasoning and flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer. Gradually and carefully whisk in the milk. Whisk until sauce is thickened and smooth, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked pasta and cheese to the skillet, tossing to combine. Add pasta water to thin sauce if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 minute. Serve.

Source: Adapted slightly from Handle the Heat, originally from Food Network Magazine March 2012.

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