21 March 2016

Spicy Pimento Macaroni & Cheese !

Ask any of my old friends, ask any of my family members and they will have to nod in agreement when I tell you that I LOVE macaroni & cheese. I LOVE IT! Like so many of us, it's been the comfort food choice for years. When I'm strapped to find a dinner menu I want to make, I fall back on a mac&cheese casserole. When it's midnight and I'm having the 'drank booze have the munchie blues', I whip up a pan of stove top mac&cheese. When my kids were young and worshiped the ' Kraft blue box' mac&cheese, I indulged them. Over the years, I've gotten a neat list of good macaroni & cheese recipes that have everything from lobster to cauliflower to bacon added to zing the casserole up a bit!

This latest recipe comes from good old Rachael Ray ... it seemed a fitting meal to have on the day when Irishmen all over the world are wearing the green of Dublin and sporting the orange of Belfast ... it's full of Cheddar cheese (the orange kind), Hungarian paprika (the spicy kind), and Thai chili/garlic sambal oelek (the 'wise guy' hot kind!). Add chopped pimentos, chopped flat leaf parsley, and make that cheese sauce with whole milk and you have an incredible spin on macaroni & cheese !

Next time you want some spice with your cheesy mac, give this one a spin! Killer! Just sayin' !

Pimento Mac & Cheese
a Rachael Ray recipe


1 lb. cavatappi pasta (big fat corkscrews)
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. butter
1 good-sized onion, small dice
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
black pepper
3 tbsp.flour
2 tbsp. good quality hot paprika
2 c. whole milk
2 generous tsp. sambal oelek (hot chili garlic sauce)
3 c. grated orange Cheddar (plus more for sprinkling on top of the casserole before baking)
2- 4 oz jars of chopped pimentos, well drained
1/3 c. chopped flat leaf parsley

Making the Dish:

1. Put a big pasta pot of water on the boil. Add salt.
2. Heat a large deep fry pan over medium heat and add the oil and butter. When melted, add the onions and sauté until glistening. Add the garlic, paprika, black pepper and stir in for about one minute. 
3. Toss the cavatappi into the boiling water and give it a stir.
4. Add the flour to the onions/garlic/spice mixture and stir to make a roux.
5. Stir in the milk and as the sauce begins to thicken, add the hot chili sauce, the Cheddar cheese and the pimentos. Continue stirring to make a smooth sauce. Taste and add salt and black pepper, if needed. 
6. Turn off the heat under the sauce and cover.
7. When the pasta is al dente, drain and add to the pasta to the sauce. Stir to combine things well.
8. Stir in most of the parsley.
9. Turn the pasta into a casserole dish, sprinkle on the rest of the parsley and some more grated Cheddar. Place in a 300 F degree oven for about 25 minutes - until the pasta bubbles and the top is crusting up a bit.
10 Serve with a cool green salad - yummy!

1 comment:

  1. I love everything about this! The big corkscrews are my favorite pasta shape for mac and cheese, and all that wonderful pepper flavor sounds amazing :)


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