This past weekend, I hosted a small tailgate/viewing party with my good friend Dan from The Food in my Beard to kick off the 2016 NFL Season (go Pats!) We had some friends over, Dan put together a hotdog station with 30 different toppings, and I made Andouille Pimiento Mac and Cheese.
I was so excited when Kayem contacted me about hosting a party – I love hotdogs more than I should, and I’m always happy to entertain friends and family, sharing with them my favorite things. I’ve been wanting to take my beloved Pimiento Cheese recipe, the cheese spread of my childhood, and turn it into a comforting dish of pasta. Looking at the different varieties of products, I knew that the Kayem Artisan Andouille Sausage would perfectly complement the pimento cheese flavors. Plus, I have a soft spot for andouille sausage because it reminds me of my trip to New Orleans.
In addition to the mac and cheese, I also made mini pigs in a blanket (Kayem Cocktail Franks + refrigerated crescent rolls), Salted Dulce de Leche Brownies, and a cheese board with mimollete cheese, blue cheese, and goat gouda, plus the usual accouterments (strawberries, grapes, almonds, dates, crackers, olives, crostini). I told you I like dinner parties.
The mac and cheese was a big hit: creamy, smoky, and slighty spicy from the lone habanero that I chopped up and folded into the cheese sauce. The creamy pimiento cheese reminded me of the flavors I’ve always loved, and the garlicky sausage bits added a nice snap to each bite. I look forward to making this again, wearing a blanket scarf, and drinking apple cider. #hellofall
Andouille Pimiento Mac and Cheese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 oz Kayem Artisan Andouille Sausage, chopped
1 lb ditalini (or shells or any other small pasta shape you prefer)
4 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 (4 oz) jar chopped pimentos, plus 1 tablespoon brine reserved from jar
1 habanero pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped chives, for garnish
- Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan or dutch oven. Add the chopped sausage and cook until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add butter and melt, then add garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in milk and whisk until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add cheese and stir until melted. Fold in pimentos and habanero.
- Add pasta and sausage back to the pan and mix well. Garnish with chives and serve immediately.
Alternatively, you can reserve 1/2 cup of the sharp cheddar cheese as a topping. Transfer the pasta to a shallow dish, top the entire dish with cheese, brown under a hot broiler for a crunchy top, and then garnish with chives before serving.
The Patriots won (even without Tom Brady and Gronk – BOOYAH) and everyone left happy and stuffed. And if you’re a fellow Pats fan, check out the sweepstakes below by Kayem, the official frank and sausage of the New England Patriots.
Sweepstakes – Ultimate Pats Fan Experience:
- How to enter: Beginning September 19th through October 9th, visit kayem.com/promotions-events/patriots and complete entry form to enter the sweepstakes
- One Grand Prize winner will receive:
- Two club seat tickets to the Patriots vs. Seahawks game at Gillette Stadium on 11/13/16
- One VIP parking pass
- Two tickets to the Patriots Official Pre-Game Tailgate Party
- One Authentic Patriots jersey
- A Kayem Grill Kit and twelve (12) coupons good on a FREE package of any Kayem Frank or Sausage up to 20oz
- The opportunity to go on the field before the Patriots vs. Seahawks game on November 13, 2016, and retrieve the tee after kickoff
- Three Second Place winners will receive:
- One Kayem Grill Kit
- Twelve coupons good on a FREE package of any Kayem Frank or Sausage up to 20oz
- One Grand Prize winner will receive:
This post was sponsored by Kayem. Thank you for supporting Confessions of a Chocoholic and the brands that support this blog.