Cheesy Mac ‘n’ Bangers Bake

A quiet Friday night alone with my youngest, and dinner to be made.  What to do, right?  Actually, that decision was made for me when Cath left the recipe and ingredients for Rachael Ray’s Cheesy Mac ‘n’ Bangers Bake before taking off for a night out with her sister, Terry and friend, Dawn.  I’ll be honest, I’d heard the term “Bangers” before, but I really didn’t know much about them.  Turns out a banger is just a one of a variety of flavoured sausage made of pork or beef or a Cumberland sausage.  (That’s straight out of Wikipedia, so I really couldn’t tell you much about a Cumberland sausage.  If you do the research, get back to me and let me know!)  We don’t have great access to authentic Irish sausages, so we decided to use the sweet Italian sausage instead.

There were a few steps to the preparation, but once we had all our ingredients in place it was just a matter of assembling and baking the dish.  When I first heard the name I had a mac ‘n’ cheese type of picture in my head. When you look at the ingredients, however, you note that the cheese is cream cheese and grated parmesan.  Hmm, definitely not what I expected, but the flavor was terrific!  We cooked for the recommended time, and then made sure to let it rest for a bit.  Our reward was a perfect square that lifted nicely out the pan and looked beautiful on the plate.

Kelly looked a little bit nervously at the spinach when I was assembling the dish before baking, but after her first taste she exclaimed “Yum!  This is really good!”  I’m going to count that as a great review.  This was a simple, hearty dish of savory comfort food, and it was perfect for a Friday evening dinner at the kitchen island with my lovely young dining companion.

Yummo!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1 lb Irish bangers or sweet italian sausages, casing removed
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb thawed frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated parmesan (4-1/2 oz)
  • 6 slices white sandwich bread, crusts trimmed

Preparation

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni, stirring often, until al dente.  Drain and cool; do not rinse.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally until crumbly, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.  Melt the butter in the pan, then add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the cream cheese until blended; season with salt and pepper.  Let cool.

In a large bowl, using a fork, beat together the eggs, heavy cream, 2/3 cup parmesan and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.

In a 9-inch square baking dish, evenly layer the macaroni and cover with the bread slices.  Top with the spinach mixture in an even layer, then the sausage.  Pour the egg mixture on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup parmesan.  (Cover and refrigerate overnight if desired.)

Let the casserole stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and bake until browned and crusty on top and set in the center, about 20 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting.

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2 Responses to Cheesy Mac ‘n’ Bangers Bake

  1. The Smith's says:

    Great dish for you and Kelly to make and eat together.
    Its a favorite in our house hold too.Kev said you can eat Red jelly perserve with Cumberland sausage to bring out the flavour.

  2. cathincolor says:

    I’m glad you save some leftovers for me to try. I loved it, even heated in the microwave. I can only imagine how delicious it was straight out of the oven. This dish reminded me of a quiche, only with noodles. Thanks for making it!

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