Tuesday, October 19, 2010

spicy mac & cheese!

working from home today - so I decided to put up shop in the kitchen (laptop, cellphone, stove - it works)... so I decided to make some homemade mac and cheese and I saw this recipe on a blog once (I thought I saw it on SelfishlyHappy - but then I went there and couldn't find it so I turned to my trusty friend google) and I found it again on Annie Eat's site - the orginal recipe can be found here and here... and now here with my adaptations [in bold/italics]:

Spicy Mac and Cheese

4 cups pasta shapes (I like cavatappi) [I used a whole box of cavatappi]
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup roasted red pepper (jarred or home roasted), finely chopped [I used one hot and one sweet pepper]
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely minced [I used 1/2 a can of diced green chiles]
6½ tbsp. butter, divided
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
4 oz. baguette or crusty Italian bread, torn into large chunks [I used panko breadcrumbs = my fav]

Bring a large pot of water to boil. When the water boils, cook the pasta according to the package directions. In the meantime, melt ½ tablespoon of butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, red pepper and jalapeno to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant and tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of 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 and begins to foam, about 2 minutes. (Be careful not to burn!) [of course, I burned it AND spilt milk allover myself when opening the milk bottle, AWESOME] 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 the spices. Add the cheeses to the mixture and whisk until completely melted and well incorporated. Remove the mixture from the heat. [I almost didn't get pepper jack and colby jack because they didn't have it grated but I put my big girl panties on and bought blocks of each and grated them and I'm really glad I did because I think it makes the recipe!]

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. [I used 3 quart - I don't see how it fits in a 2 quart?!] Return the drained pasta to the large pot. Add in the cooked vegetables and the cheese sauce, and mix until well blended. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish.

Use a food processor to pulse the bread into coarse crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with the bread crumbs. (I also mixed in a dash of cayenne pepper.) [OR just use panko breadcrumbs with cayanne pepper] Sprinkle the crumb mixture in an even layer on top of the pasta. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the mixture is heated through and the topping is golden brown. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
I'm telling you this dish is AMAZING. My version wasn't too spicy but had just enough kick... I'm eating some right now as a late lunch and have a feeling I will be feeding myself this for lunch and dinner for the rest of the week since work has kidnapped my husband... maybe I'll even let him have some... aren't I a nice wife?
IN OTHER NEWS - I FOUND MY iPhone!!!!! Yup, the wine must have told me that leaving on the table I was sitting at was a good idea.... luckily it was there when I went by the wedding venue. SO happy. happy tuesday!
make it, trust me - it tastes as good as it looks!


Aimee said...

That looks yummy and i am glad you found your phone :)

Kevin Michael said...

Holy crap that looks amazing!!!!

Kristin said...

um, yum! perfect weather for mac & cheese! and yay for finding your iphone!! i've been there before unfortunately...

Nikki said...

MMmm! I love the crumb topping. I'd add sliced tomatoes for some healthy ;)

Brittany said...

I want to eat my screen! This looks INCREDIBLY delish!!!!

Christina said...

I know, i should label my posts but I'm lazzy. A trick I learned. . because I am also lazy about grating cheese. . use your food processor! If yours is like my it came with an attachment that shreds. It works great, even better if you pop the cheese in the freezer for a bit.

____j said...

That sounds so good!!

Sara L. said...

Yummy Yummy!!

Oh, My Darling said...

Wow, looks delicious!

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