Beer Mac and Cheese
2 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow noodles
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
8 ounces milk
8 ounces beer
8 ounces freshly grated cheddar cheese
4 ounces Gruyère cheese
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch of black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
10 large basil leaves, chopped for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare water for pasta and boil according to directions, shaving 1-2 minutes off of cooking time since pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
Heat a saucepan over medium high heat and add butter. Once melted and sizzling, whisk in flour to create a roux and cook until bubbly and golden in color, about 2 minutes. Add milk and beer into saucepan whisking constantly, then add cheeses and stir until melted. Turn heat down to medium and continue to stir, cooking for 5-6 minutes while mixture thickens. It will most likely NOT thicken like regular mac and cheese because of the beer, but you want it to thicken a little bit. Stir in pepper, paprika and nutmeg.
Add noodles (once cooked and drained) to a casserole dish, then pour cheese over top, mixing gently to combine. Top with panko bread crumbs and an additional sprinkle of cheese if desired. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then top with fresh basil.