The upside to having two bloggers in a home is we rarely go hungry, there is always food around. With that comes a lot of suggestions and opinions for tweaking and making good things better.
Usually it’s my little guy Cole who is the first to offer up his thoughts—he thought the pie fusion was such a cool idea. Then comes Matt—he was bummed he didn’t think of the pie idea himself. Then the baby—I said pie so he was expecting sweet. A meltdown of tears and screams for pie followed.
“No fake pie, real pie”.
“Try mommy’s fake pie. Look Daddy and Cole love it”. After more tears, plate pushing, I caved.
“Here Connor let’s make the fake pie real.” I added diced apples to the top. Which is why you see them in the ingredient image below. It was actually very good – nice bit of subtle sweetness to even out the cheese.
The other key ingredient you see in the photo is: fairlife® milk. It makes this dish incredibly creamy and since it’s a high quality whole milk, I feel great about using it and serving it to my boys. Fairlife® has half the sugar of regular milk and is lactose free-with no compromise to taste.
Along with that, Fairlife’s cold-filtration system is an additional step they take to increase the protein and calcium levels of their milk. And because of fairlife® is high in protein, 13 grams vs. the traditional 8 grams, it is the beverage of choice in my home.
Now, bookmark this recipe because your family is going to love this fun take on a classic mac and cheese dish!
Meaty Mac and Cheese Pie
Yield: Serves 10 -12 (Makes two 9" pies or one 9x13" casserole size pan)
- 2 9" pie crusts (your favorite recipe or ready made)
- 1 lb. shell pasta
- 10 oz. ground sausage
- 8 oz. fontina cheese
- 8 oz. extra sharp cheddar
- 4 oz. parmesan cheese
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large sage leaves
- 1/3 cup Marsala wine
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup fairlife Milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
If making pies, prepare two 9-inch pie pans with dough and blind bake to golden brown, about 20 mins at 350 degrees F. Set baked pie crusts aside until ready to use. If you using a casserole pan, lightly butter a 9x13 pan, set aside.
Cook and drain pasta according to directions on package. Set aside. In the meantime, place a large skillet over medium high heat, add sausage and cook until fully done, about 7 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate and set aside.
Using the same pan, add butter and sage over medium high heat and cook until foamy, about 1-2 minutes. Add marsala to deglaze the pan by scraping up all the brown bits. Cook to a simmer. Add flour and whisk mixture. Continue to cook until a paste forms and becomes fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour in milk and add salt. Continue to whisk continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Sauce is ready when mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove sage leaves and discard. Remove pan from heat momentarily to whisk in beaten egg. Return pan to heat and cook just until sauce bubbles.
Fold cheese into sauce and stir until most of the cheese is melted. Fold in pasta and sausage. Scoop mixture into pie crusts or prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes for a casserole pan and 20-25 minutes for the pies (tent pies with foil if edge starts to brown too quickly). Remove from oven and garnish with parsley.