I love mac and cheese. Maybe it’s the five year old in me, but mac and cheese is the perfect comfort food.
This is not your normal mac and cheese. It’s kind of a more grown up version, but still every bit as delicious and comforting as the mac and cheese I remember from my youth. Plus it didn’t come out of a blue box, so it has that going for it.
Original recipe can be found at Annie’s Eats.
Spicy Mac and Cheese
4 cups pasta shapes—I used rotini
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup roasted red pepper finely chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely minced
6½ tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2½ cups milk
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
8 oz. colby jack cheese, shredded
4 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons of bread crumbs
1) Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta as directed on box.
2) Melt 1/2 Tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. Cook onion, jalapeño, and red pepper for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until veggies are tender. Set aside.
3) Melt four tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. When butter is melted, whisk in flour. Continue to cook, whisking constantly until mixture begins to bubble and become thicker, about five minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and add spices.
4) Add cheese to mixture and whisk until completely melted.
5) Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 2 quart casserole dish.
6) Drain pasta and return to pot. Add cheese sauce and veggies to pot and mix completely. Place mixture in prepared casserole dish.
7) Melt two tablespoons of butter and toss with bread crumbs. Sprinkle mixture over top of mac and cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden. Let stand a few minutes before serving.
This was a delicious meal on a cold night. Next time I will halve or quarter the recipe. I have never found a good way to reheat mac and cheese, so the leftovers are always disappointing. Chad thought the reheated leftovers were fine though, so maybe it’s just me.
You can use whatever cheese you want in this, but I loved these flavors. I think I’ll experiment next time and use more cheddar or pepper jack and see how it goes.