Cheese. Cheese! Glorious Cheese. How can you not like cheese? It is beyond our family’s comprehension. In the words of the infamous Sicilian, The Great Vizzini, “Inconceivable!” So if you’re one of these people who don’t like cheese, whether it’s a texture thing, an animal by-product aversion, I give you fair warning: Look Away. Look. Away. NOW.
For everybody else who jumped right on the cheese wheel wagon with us, this is your kind of dish. Cheese, cheese sauce, with another sprinkle of cheese on top. And, you know, some tender Russet potatoes and sliced smoked sausage were included to make it a meal appropriate for general consumption, since eating cheese sauce by the spoonful & straight out of the pan is probably frowned upon in polite society.
I wish there were a cheese grater, like the one at Olive Garden who grates the fresh Parm on your salad, but at my personal beck and call, and when I tell him to keep it coming, make it rain, (you get the idea), he just says, ‘As You Wish.’
But honestly, if you thought cheese was good by itself, err I meant to say cheesy potatoes, yes– if you thought cheesy potatoes were good by themselves, then you’re really gonna love them with the added flavor from the smoked sausage, as well as the sweet, smokiness of the paprika. I could seriously eat a dish like this everyday. This is serious comfort food, just how it’s meant to be.
Cheesy Potato & Smoked Sausage Casserole
3 cups Russet potatoes, peeled (optional), boiled and cut into cubes when cool
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp pepper
1⁄2 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed
1⁄2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 lb smoked sausage*
1⁄8-1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1. Slice the smoked sausage into thin ‘coins’. Saute the sliced sausage in a large skillet with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil for about 15 minutes, until they’ve just started to brown.
2. Transfer the cooked potatoes and sausage to a casserole dish, stirring gently to evenly distribute.
3. In a large sauce pan, over medium heat, whisk together the butter and flour until evenly combined. Allow it to cook about a minute, whisking constantly, to get rid of the floury taste. Slowly add in the milk 1/4-1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly until evenly incorporated until all the liquid has been added and a roux has formed and thickened. Stir in the Velveeta, paprika, and salt & pepper (to taste), stirring occasionally until completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
4. Pour cheese sauce over potatoes and meat in the casserole dish. Evenly sprinkle the shredded cheese over top.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender and the casserole is golden brown on top.
*You can substitute sliced hot dogs, diced ham, or even cubed Spam in place of the Smoked Sausage, if desired.