Macaroni & Cheese..with Wine?

Absolutely. I was shocked, too, but when some friends and I hit Hickory Hill winery on a recent wine tour that is exactly what their Country Red screamed out: “Drink me with some really good mac & cheese!” So, we bought a bottle, and at the very first ripe opportunity I busted out a mac & cheese recipe recommended by both the owner of the winery and the friends who’d accompanied us on the tour.

It all starts out simple enough, with some cheese and noodles.

It ends up all goey and yummy like this:

I had to make some changes from Jaime Olliver’s recipe. I couldn’t find any decent fontina, let alone marscapone, and I needed to add some protein to it for The Boys.

• 1lb 2oz good-quality macaroni
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• a knob of butter
• a small bunch of fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves picked (I used dried oregano, because I had it on hand)

• 3½oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for grating
• 3½oz grated sharp cheddar

• 3½oz Muenster
• 3½oz cream cheese
• ¼ of a nutmeg

• 1/2 lb. smoked sausage, diced small

•  1/2 med. red pepper, small
An additional bit grated cheddar (or fresh mozzarella) and Parmesan cheeses reserved.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. On stove top, cook the macaroni, and drain, reserving 1/2 c. of cooking water. In pan, heat butter and herbs until herbs are crispy. Add macaroni and all cheeses except the reserved grated cheddar, and several tablespoons of the starch water. Stir until creamy. Stir in sausage and pepper. Pour macaroni into a lightly greased casserole, and sprinkle grated cheddar over top, then Parmesan. Put in oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes until cheese on top is bubbly. Serve warm, with a red wine, and enjoy!


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