All year long, there are funny little food holidays that celebrate things like chocolate and pepperoni sticks and ice cream sandwiches. They’re very specific and very frequent, and we kind of ignore a lot of them. But apparently July 7 is national Macaroni and Cheese day, and it’s hard to ignore something that delicious — especially when you add Isernio’s sausage to the mix.
The cool thing about mac ‘n cheese is that there is really no wrong way to make it. It’s all about personal preferences and it’s a very forgiving dish. For many of us, it was one of the first things we ever learned to cook by ourselves, and whether or not that involved pouring powdered cheese from a box into a stove, it was a pretty cool thing to know how to make.
These days, we recommend you leave the powdered cheese to the kids, and focus on using great ingredients to make your macaroni and cheese shine. Here are some great ideas:
Hot Italian Mac ‘n Cheese
It’s a proven fact that our Hot Italian Pork and Chicken Sausages are one of the most versatile foods on earth, fitting in well in everything from lasagna to sandwiches to breakfast casseroles. But when you’re taking it to cheeseville, add in flavors that will complement it. With spices like paprika, fennel, and garlic pumping up the flavor, it does well with any kind of cheese, but especially fontina, jack, and pecorino. Toss in some roasted red peppers, maybe a little extra garlic, and top it all with breadcrumbs before popping it in the oven. Bellissimo.
Chicken and Double Feta Mac
Colorful and flavorful is a solid combo, every day of the week, and our Chicken Spinach Feta Sausage accomplishes both of those feat on the regular. To make it into mac, we like to pop it out of the casing, and sauté up the sausage until it browns a little, then set it aside. In the same pan, you can add tomatoes and mushrooms, letting things soften, and then toss in a little spinach to wilt at the end. Mix the sausage with the veggies and fold it into a cheese sauce made with a Quattro Formaggi cheese blend, then toss in your choice of pasta — lumache is especially interesting and delightful. Before popping it in the oven, crumble feta over top of the pan; or, if you’re not going to bake it, just add crumbles into your bowl for a little extra burst of salty, cheesy goodness.
Summery Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese
It’s always a good day for mac ‘n cheese, but summer is an especially lovely time to make a big batch highlighting great seasonal produce. That’s why our Chicken Basil & Sun Dried Tomato Sausage goes so well in this dish. We like to bump up the basil factor and make a bit of a non-traditional mac. When we make our cheese sauce for this one, we use fontina, a little cream cheese, and a bit of tomato sauce. The creamy sauce is more gooey than stretchy, and is perfect with big bites of the sausage and rigatoni or another totally tubular shape. Tuck in chiffonade basil, a few capers, and chopped Mama Lil’s goat horn peppers for a truly good meal.
Happy Macaroni and Cheese Day!