Cheese Beer Sauce
I am playing on riffs on the perennial classic: My own take here is like an Alfredo Sauce on steroids. You say cream and milk, I say stout! I got inspired by a rustic and funky cheese dip we used to feast on in our lean student days called cancoillotte, made with a hard to find French Cheese called metton, slathered obscenely thick on peasant bread, and oozing in all directions. Much like a cheese fondue, and Welsh Rarebit, except cancoillotte stays liquid at room temperature, even cold, and is therefore quite versatile, equally at home as a sauce, a spread and a dip.
I wanted to expand my collection of dairy dishes
I developed this cheese beer sauce in prevision of the coming Shavuot attractions. Take a look at my Mega Shavuot Recipe File!
My version of cheese beer sauce is the funkiest of all:
It might put (more) hair on a lumberjack’s chest: I just spread the umami love really thick, I know I can’t miss! Strong stinky cheese and beer are a match made in cowboy heaven. Not for the faint of heart.
The cheese beer sauce is a snap to make
Once that’s ready, all that’s left to do is pour it on the pasta and toss.
You just need to remember this, so you don’t end up with a prohibitively rich dish:
The stronger the cheese, the less of it you need
And, it goes without saying, the more delicious it will be! Strong cheese goes a longer way.
Don’t be afraid to make a double batch!
Use some, refrigerate some. It will be perfect for dipping and smearing, or for another pasta dinner. It will keep perfectly in a glass jar. The kind of treat you’ll always be delighted to find in your fridge. The only tough part is to keep your hands off it. I think you can tell: It’s one of my favorite things!
You can warm up the cheese beer sauce:
Use it like a fondue dip with chunks of bread and cut up vegetables. You can also use it as a topping to polenta or eggplant dishes, even drizzled on grilled vegetables.
If you have a very dry white wine, it will be suitable instead of beer, in the same amounts. But just because beer doesn’t get a chance to appear in cooking as often as wine does, I recommend leaving the beer in place.
Artichoke Cheese Beer Sauce
Artichoke lovers, take note! If you adore them, as I do, make your sauce even more luscious with just one simple extra stitch of work: blend the beer in the recipe with 1 1/2 cups artichoke hearts or bottoms, canned or frozen and thawed, then proceed with the recipe just as given.
Cheese Beer Sauce:
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 a stick)
- 3 large cloves finely minced garlic
- 6 leaves fresh sage, finely minced
- 3 tablespoons flour (any flour, including gluten-free)
- 1 12-oz can or bottle of stout beer
- 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons chipotle sauce
- good pinch nutmeg
- 8 ounces shredded or diced manchego, kashkeval or extra strong cheddar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (you might need only a little salt, the cheese is salty)
- 6-8 sprigs flat parsley, minced, for garnish
1 pound Fettuccini or linguini (gluten-free OK too), cooked according to manufacturer's instructions, 1/2 cup cooking liquid reserved
Make the sauce:
Melt the butter in a large skillet on a medium flame. Add the garlic and the sage, and cook until just fragrant. Stir in the flour and cook until golden, just a few seconds. Whisk in the beer, pouring slowly and steadily. The mixture will thicken. Stir in the mustard, chipotle, nutmeg and cheese. The sauce is ready in just a minute or two, when all the cheese melts and the sauce looks nice and thick. Makes about 3 cups of cheese beer sauce.
Add the cooked pasta and reserved cooking water to the skillet, and toss thoroughly with the parsley garnish. Serve hot. Makes eight first course servings, or 4 main course servings