As you may or may not know, I am in a writing workshop group that meets every three weeks. Sometimes we do writerly things, but these gatherings are often also dinner parties. It was my turn to host this week and I was searching for something I could make easily in the hour between getting home from work and the start of the workshop, and something that I could easily scale up to feed 9 hungry writers. Obviously I chose Cheeseburger Chili Mac & Cheese.

The recipe is very easy and I actually followed it, for the most part. I used regular pasta instead of whole wheat, and at the end when it says to top the chili and pasta with cheese, I mixed some in as well. I also did not think that the addition of beef stock to the chili was really necessary. By the time I reached that step, my chili was already liquid-y enough. Unfortunately, I am out of my own beef stock, so I had to use store-bought. In the future, I would use home-made and reduce it on its own for a bit first, thereby reducing the volume of liquid while still adding a little more depth of flavor to the dish. I already have a weekend in October blocked off for stock-making, so I’ll be fully stocked (anyone?) again soon.

Lamentably, everyone ate all of it before I take any pictures. Seconds and thirds were had, and I packed everyone off into the night stuffed full of meat, cheese, and pasta. I am very exciting for Fall weather to begin, and mac & cheese, though delectable year-round, is a great base for hearty Fall meals. What are your favorite mac & cheese variations?

As always, recipe after the jump.

 

 

Cheeseburger Chili Mac & Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 to 2 cups beef stock (depending on how liquid-y you want it)
  • 1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar (the sharper the better!)

Preparation

Preheat broiler. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat for the pasta.

Place a medium pot over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the meat to the pan and cook until golden brown, 5-6 minutes.

Add the onion and chili powder to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the ketchup, mustard and beef stock to the pot, bring up to a bubble and simmer until slightly thickened, 4-5 minutes.

While the chili is working, salt the boiling water and drop the pasta in. Cook to al dente according to package directions then drain thoroughly and return it to the pot.

Add the chili to the pot with the pasta and give everything a good toss. Transfer to a casserole dish [The Infinite Kitchen used a dutch oven] and top with the shredded cheese. Place the casserole under the broiler to melt and brown the cheese. Serve with a simple salad alongside.

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