Posted by: Maggie
Ok, let me start by saying that this macaroni and cheese isn't really spicy at all, unless you're a total sissy.
I don't use my own sense of taste to determine if something is spicy or not, because I have recently taken to eating sriracha on just about everything, and have burned off most of my taste buds. I'm pretty sure I'd eat a dirty shoe if I could eat it with sriracha. Jeff however, does not enjoy spicy food, and agreed that while very tasty, this macaroni and cheese does not qualify as spicy.
Now that I've made that disclaimer, I'll tell you that this macaroni and cheese is extremely flavorful, cheesy, and delicious, and absolutely worth making. Just be sure to leave in the jalapeo seeds if you want more of a spicy kick!
Here's what you'll need:
4 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup jarred roasted red pepper, finely chopped
2 jalapeo peppers, finely minced, seeds optional (wear gloves when cutting these!)
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
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 black pepper
6 cups of shredded cheese - I used a combo of about 2 parts colby jack, to 1 part pepper jack and 1 part sharp cheddar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. When the water is boiling, add the macaroni and cook until al dente (the pasta will cook a bit more in the oven.)
While the pasta is cooking, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add in onion, red pepper, and jalapeo, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
At this point your pasta should be done - drain it and set aside.
In a large, deep skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. When the butter is completely melted, whisk in the flour, and cook for two minutes, whisking constantly, until it turns light brown and starts foaming. Be careful not to burn it. Whisk in the milk until well blended. Cook mixture, whisking frequently for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens slightly and begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the spices.
Gradually add the cheese to the mixture, one handful at a time, stirring constantly until well blended. About four cups in you'll think the sauce can't handle more cheese, but just add it gradually and it will all melt! Remove the mixture from heat.
Add the cooked pasta back into the pot, and add in cheese sauce, and the vegetables. Stir to combine thoroughly. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray, and transfer the macaroni and cheese to the dish. Top with breadcrumbs, and bake for 25 minutes.
Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats