Mustard Kielbasa Mac and Cheese

When I was leaving my parent's house this Fourth of July, they handed me a huge package of kielbasa. I love kielbasa, but generally it's just eaten as-is; thrown on the grill and dipped in mustard. As a food blogger, these are the foods that annoy me most. I absolutely love it, but it's boring to blog cause there is no real recipe involved. I brainstormed for awhile to try and come up with a recipe using kielbasa and its best friend, mustard, and this amazing mac and cheese is what I came up with.
Making the kielbasa the same size as the pasta makes a huge difference when you are eating it. It just makes everything so much easier to eat. Brown up the kielbasa, then remove from the pan. Cook the onions down in the kielbasa fat, then add some flour and make your roux. Milk and cheese go in next. I used yellow cheese and yellow mustard in this dish cause I wanted the whole thing to be an almost glowing neon yellow. A little arugula adds a nice color contrast and subtle bitter earthy flavor. Cooked kielbasa and pasta in the pan together. Same size as you can see. Add the sauce and bake this on high heat til it's bubbly and browned. So good! There was just enough mustard in this to bring a background flavor to the whole dish. You already know how well mustard and kielbasa go together, and the cheese and pasta were just begging to join the party. And a party it was. This is the best mac and cheese I've had in awhile!
 

Mustard Kielbasa Mac and Cheese

  • 1 Pound Kielbasa
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 3 Cups Milk
  • 20 Ounces Yellow Cheddar
  • 1/3 Cup Mustard
  • 1 Pound Small Rigatoni
  • 1 Handful Chopped Arugula

Instructions

  1. For today's recipe, chop the kielbasa into pieces that match the size of the pasta. Cook the kielbasa in a splash of oil to brown up a bit and release some fat. There is a lot of sugar in kielbasa, so stir often to prevent the bottom of the pan from burning. Remove the kielbasa from the pan keeping the fat in. Saute the onion in the oil/kielbasa fat mixture until just lightly browning. Add the butter and melt. Add the flour and mix well. Cook the flour in the pan for about 3-5 minutes stirring almost constantly until it turns golden brown. Add the milk and mix well to assure no lumps form. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes while shredding the cheese. Add the cheese to the pot and stir to incorporate. If you add the cheese while the sauce is too hot, it will separate, but this can be fixed with a stick blender.  Add the mustard and arugula to the sauce. Boil the pasta for a few minutes less than directed. Strain and toss in the sauce. Add in the kielbasa and toss. Pour into a baking dish and bake at 450 for about a half hour until bubbley and browned on top.