Cajun Mac and Cheese with Andouille Sausage and Shrimp
Contains dairy, shrimp, gluten
Now here is a good mac and cheese recipe to keep everyone warm this winter!
This dish has a nice rich cream sauce tossed with andouille sausage, shrimp, and Cajun seasoning (the dish can be made hotter by adding a little more cayenne pepper), and with a few simple tricks, this will be known amongst your friends as the best mac and cheese in the history of time.
It all starts with the right cheese. I always use a good extra sharp cheddar in the block form, so it can be shredded at home. Pre-shredded packaged cheese tends to be dryer and may sometimes have stabilizers or corn starch added to them. When melting the cheese, the best way to start out is by gently heating it. If the sauce is too hot when the cheese is added, this can cause the cheese sauce to become grainy instead of that rich, creamy smooth feeling. As an extra taste layer, I also like to add pepper jack to the recipe, because I like the way it adds more cheesiness to the sauce and the pepper part adds a little more heat to it.
When cooking the pasta do not use any oil (it's not needed for this recipe). The oil will coat the pasta, which keeps the sauce from sticking to it and creating that perfect ratio of pasta to cheesy goodness.
I hope you enjoy the recipe, and remember, cooking is fun and don't be afraid to be creative with your seasonings and flavors.
Cajun Mac and Cheese Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon mustard powder
Pinch cayenne pepper, or more if you like it hot
Pinch ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 pound cheddar cheese block, shred at home
4 ounce pepper jack cheese block, shred at home
Salt & pepper to season as needed
Method – Mac and Cheese Sauce
• Melt butter in a 2 quart sauce pan
• Add heavy cream, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and Cajun seasoning to the melted butter. Bring to a low simmer over a medium low heat
• Once the cream is warm, add cheddar and pepper jack cheese. Stirring continuously over medium low heat until all the cheese melts. Do not let the sauce boil
• Season with salt and pepper to taste
Andouille Sausage and Shrimp
8 ounces Andouille sausage, cut into coins
8 ounces peeled shrimp, deveined with tail off
Method – Cooking the Andouille Sausage and Shrimp
nIn a large sauté pan, cook the andouille sausage over medium high heat until it starts to brown a little and some of the fat starts to melt out. Add shrimp and toss around in the pan with the sausage, cooking until the shrimp is firm and not translucent
16 ounces dry macaroni pasta
1 ½ - 2 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt (no oil needed)
Method – Cooking the pasta
• In a 4 quart pot, add salt to the pasta water and bring to a boil
• Once the water is boiling, add pasta and bring back to a boil. Do not add oil to the pasta water, it may help in keeping the foam down, but it will end up making your pasta oily when drained. If the cooked pasta is oily then the cheese sauce won't stick to it very well. Keep an eye on the pot and turn the heat down a little if it starts to foam
• Boil the pasta for 8-10 minutes or until it's cooked to your desired preference
• Drain the pasta and shake the excess water out and do not rinse the pasta. Rinsing the pasta will wash the starch off and cool it; you want to keep it warm
Method – Bringing it all together
• Add the cooked pasta back into the pasta pot, and mix in the cooked sausage and shrimp. For the final touch, add some or all of the cheese sauce into the pot and mix together. It's now ready to be served.