Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

FOUND IT: At the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board's 30 Days 30 Ways blog.
MODIFIED IT: To replace a couple of ingredients I didn't have.

This recipe isn't as spicy as I expected it to be, although using the Pepper Jack cheese the recipe calls for would almost certainly rectify that problem.

  • 4 cups pasta noodles, such as cavatappi (a 1 lb box should be sufficient)
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • Half a medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup roasted red pepper (jarred or home roasted), finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely minced (I made a half recipe but still used 2 jalapenos. For a full one, I'd use more.)
(Instead of attempting to finely chop these three ingredients, I pureed them all in a food processor.)
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces Colby Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (I didn't have the Pepper Jack, so I doubled up on this)
  • Bread crumbs, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper and jalapeño pepper, cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter is completely melted, whisk in the flour. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it turns a light golden brown color, 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the milk until well blended. Cook the mixture, whisking or stirring frequently, until it begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Whisk in cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add the cheeses to the mixture and whisk until completely melted and well incorporated. Remove from heat.

Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. Return the drained pasta to a large pot. Add in the sautéed vegetables and cheese sauce; mix until well blended. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Cover with bread crumbs if desired.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, then allow to cool for at least five minutes before serving.

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