Photos by: Shani Christine Schliefer
1 pound noodles (I am really into the ones that look like spiral curls, however penne works just a well)
16 ounces BBC Altbier (or other Amber beer)
10 ounces half and half
8 ounces cheddar cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
6 ounces Parmesan
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
½ teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces shredded cheese (optional step #8)
1. Cook noodles following the recipe on the package.
2. In a sauce pan melt butter, then add flour and stir. You are making a roux, which will help thicken and bind the sauce. This should become paste like.
3. Heat half and half. Slowly add warm half and half to roux, stirring as you go. (If you go too quickly you will end up with clumps of flour in your sauce. This is gross. IF, you ignore prior instructions and end up with clumps, you may be able to fix by wisking. However it’s best to just not mess up in the first place. Also cold half and half to roux will cause clumps.)
4. In a separate sauce pan (maybe the one you used to heat up the half and half) reduce the beer buy a forth. You want to concentrate the flavor which will happen as some of the water evaporates, however beer tends to want to foam over when heated so watch this pot like a hawk.
5. Add reduced beer to half and half mixture. Add all cheeses and spices. Stir frequently until it comes to a boil. The sauce should be smooth and thick.
6. Toss strained pasta with cheese sauce.
8. Place in an ovenproof baking dish, cover with optional cheese, and bake for 20 mins at 350. (you can thrown it under the broiler for the last minute, but don’t forget about it because it’s really be a bummer when it burns.)