Friday, February 26, 2010

Spicy Mac and Cheese

If I could eat macaroni and cheese every day for the rest of my life, I'm pretty sure I would never complain. I absolutely love almost any variation of macaroni and cheese. When I saw this post online I knew I just had to make it because I had never had a spicy macaroni before! Plus I was allowed to use my own noodles and had a bunch of rotini leftover so it was the perfect way to use it up. I actually had half a box of whole wheat and half a box of white .. but my husband didn't seem to notice. ;)

This was the most perfect macaroni. My husband's only complaint was that I made it for our main course so it didn't have any meat in it. Yeah yeah yeah .. sure thing honey. So next time, for him, I think I might add some spicy Italian sausage for meat. If I do make this again, I might double the recipe and have guests over. This would be an absolute MUST for my Thanksgiving dinner table as a side dish (without the meat addition).

If you notice I did go a little crazy with the bread crumbs but I won't do that next time.

Spicy Mac and Cheese
Adapted from: Annie's Eats

4 cups pasta shapes (I used rotini)
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper (or roasted red pepper)
2 jalepenos, seeded and finely choppd
6.5 tbsp butter, divided
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
2.5 cups milk
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
16 oz four cheese blend, shredded (you can use any 4 cheese combo)
italian bread crumbs, for topping

Cook pasta stove top to package directions. When finished cooking, drain and keep in collander. Meanwhile, melt 1/2 tbsp butter in small skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper and jalapeno to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally about 5-7 minutes until softened and remove from heat and set aside.

In medium sauce pan, melt 4 tbsp butter on medium-high heat. Once melted, slowly whisk in the flour and add the milk almost immediately. Cook until well blended and bubbly (about 5 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low and mix in the spices. Then add in the cheese and mix well until completely melted. Try at this point to refrain from eating all the cheese mixture because it is soooo good. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a small casserole dish (2 quart). Return the drained pasta to large pot that it was cooked in. Add the cooked vegetables and cheese mixture to the pot and combine well. Pour into the casserole dish and gently flatten. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top (not too many). Bake for 25 minutes or until mixture is heated and top is golden brown. Allow to stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

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