When I think of comfort food I think of this meal.
I've made it a million times for my family and have taken it as a sunshine meal to friends who are dealing with the loss of a loved one or the arrival of a new blessing.
I'm so happy to share it with you during the Comfort Food Blog Hop!
This is a meal our family loves in the fall, but a meal we make all year round. Why? Because all 4 of my boys will eat it. That is a miracle in itself! I hope that you will enjoy this dinner for many years to come.
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) butter
3 Tablespoons flour
4 cups milk (we use 2%)
1 package (2 cups) Italian cheese mixture (Kraft, sargento, etc)
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
salt to taste
1 package of Italian sausage (we use spicy, but mild is great too!)
1 box of bowtie noodles (also great on penne, and rigatoni noodles!)
1. If sausage is still in skins, remove the skin and cook in a large skillet like you would ground hamburger meat. I usually start on medium high heat and once almost done thoroughly, lower to med heat to insure the sausage is cooked throughly. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain extra grease off sausage.
2. Boil and cook the noodles while the sausage is browning. I usually cook the noodles and leave them in the water until it is time to put everything together.
3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the chopped garlic over medium heat. Sauté by stirring constantly until the garlic becomes a translucent color, do not allow to become to brown. Then add the 3 tbsp's of flour to the mixture. Stir constantly with a whisk. It will be clumpy, but just continue to stir, allowing the flour to cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the milk. I usually add 1/2 c. to start, mix it all together and then slowly add the rest. Basically you are making a rue. If you have never done this before (very much like making gravy), you might want to watch a youtube video. It can be intimidating, but it really isn't that hard, and you will be glad you learned this vital cooking lesson.
4. Continue whisking the sauce mixture over medium heat. Do not stop stirring or the milk will scorch. You will stir for a long time. And then you will stir some more. At some point the magic will happen and your sauce will thicken. If you think it might have thickened but aren't sure, keep stirring. It will eventually turn into a thick mixture. You will know it when it happens. After this happens, turn the heat to low and slowly add the packaged cheese mixture. I do 1/2 cup of cheese at a time, allowing to melt and mix together. If it is still clumpy after adding it, keep stirring and turn the heat up to medium. For the most part it will not be stringing, but a smooth mixture with maybe tiny dots of cheese.
5. Drain the pasta and add to it the sage, thyme and pepper. Do this in a large saucepan (I use a big stockpot). Mix in the drained sausage and the cheese mixture. Mix it all together. You are now ready to enjoy it! In the picture I have added chopped kale and parmesan flakes.
If you would like to make this for later, pour into a casserole dish and cook at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Gluten Free Version:
The gluten free version is easy peasy!
Simply replace the flour with cornstarch (lower the amount to 2 tablespoons)
For noodles I recommend using these:
They are my favorite noodles by far!
This is the cheese I used, but I've used other types as well
So that's it! If you are looking for a dessert that is just as comforting, I would recommend making the pudding part of the trifle that I posted a few months ago. So yummy!
I am honored to direct you over to Lori at The Stonybrook House. She's an absolute doll! Her pot roast looks mouth watering! Enjoy!
I can't wait to see what you link up! I'm in the mood to get in the kitchen and savor this fall weather! Please share your tried and true comfort recipes!