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Kicked up Sausage Macaroni and Cheese

February 13, 2015


This is another great dish from Emeril Lagasse which includes his Creole Seasoning or Essence:  definitely adds that spicy punch!

I reduced the amount of butter and flour and used 2% milk instead of whole, to make it a bit more healthy.  He calls for all spicy pork sausage but the first time I made it I used 1/2 sweet and 1/2 spicy sausage and the second time I just used sweet sausage.  All were good, so your choice on how hot you want it!  I also was able to tweak the recipe a bit, to make the dish using just one pot.  Always my goal to have less dishes to wash in the evening 🙂

Kicked Up Sausage Macaroni and Cheese (adapted from Emeril Lagasse)

6 tablespoon butter

8 ounces elbow macaroni

1 pound of Italian pork sausage (all spicy, 1/2 spicy and 1/2 sweet or all sweet) casings removed

1 cup diced onion, from 1 large

1 tablespoon Essence, divided, recipe below

4 teaspoons minced garlic, from ~5 large garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon anise seeds (smells like licorice, first time I ever used it)

6 tablespoon flour

3 cups 2% milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided (I like Cracker Barrel Extra sharp yellow)

1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs

Emeril’s Essence:

2-1/2 tablespoon paprika

2 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in a container with a tight lid with your other spices.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray with canola oil spray, an 11 x 18 inch glass baking dish.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the elbow macaroni according to the package directions.  When done drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.  Dry out pot with paper towels.

In the same pot, over medium high heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up with 2 forks.  Cook until brown and done.  Remove sausage with slotted spoon and pour out fat from sausage.  Wipe pot clean with paper towels.

In same pot, over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil.   Cook onions and 1 teaspoon of Essence, for about 3 minutes until onion is translucent and soft, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and anise seeds and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Transfer onion mixture to cooked sausage that has been set aside.

In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and stirring constantly with a whisk, cook until thick, about 1 minute.  Using a whisk, add the milk in a steady stream and cook whisking constantly, until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes.  Tilt the pan to make sure that all the roux has been incorporated into the milk.  Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, cayenne and 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until smooth.  Add the noodles, cooked sausage, onion mixture and stir to combine.  Pour into the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup of cheese, breadcrumbs and 2 teaspoon of Essence.  Sprinkle over the macaroni.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.  Serve.

mise en place:


cooking and breaking up sausage:


cooked sausage set aside:


cooking onions,Essence, garlic and anise seeds, then add to sausage:



making roux:


add milk and simmer:


add cheese, salt, pepper, cayenne:


sausage and onion mixture into cheese sauce, mix well:




ready for the oven:


after ~30 minutes, bubbly and melty and hot:




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