I’ve been promising this Mac & Cheese recipe for quite a while. Sorry it’s taken so long to post. I highly recommend making at least a double batch. Last time I made it, I made a quadruple batch and froze half of it. When I thawed that batch, I made a little extra sauce to stir in before transferring to the oven since the penne absorbed some of it while it was waiting to be cooked :)
This is my take on Kurt Beecher’s Mariachi Mac & Cheese recipe from Pure Flavor.
8 oz. penne
2 Tbsp. butter
2 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 Cups milk
6 oz. sharp Cheddar, grated
4 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 habanero, minced w/o most seeds
1 red chili, diced
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Ancho Chili powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1/4 tsp. paprika
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch baking dish.
Cook the penne 2 minutes less than package directions (about 7 minutes)(it will finish cooking in the oven.) Rinse pasta in cold water and set aside.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add three quarters of the Cheddar and Gruyere, Habanero, red chili, garlic powder, Ancho Chili powder, and salt. Stir until cheese is melted. Set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, cauliflower, and bell pepper. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion is just beginning to brown. Remove from the heat and add vegetables to the cheese sauce along with the corn. Fold the sauce into the cooked pasta. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar and Gruyere cheese and the paprika.
Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Let the mac & cheese rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Note: If you don’t like things spicy, leave out the habanero.