Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pepper Jack Mac & Cheese

I made pulled pork sandwiches tonight and they were so DELISH.  Stuffed a tenderloin with about 15 garlic cloves, seasoned it just right and let it bathe in 2 cups of some incredible sauce in the crock pot for about 6-8 hours while I did laundry and caught up with my DVR.  This actually isn't a recipe for that pulled pork, but that pulled pork made me think of another recipe I've had on standby for a while.  Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese....yummy! You guys are gonna love this.  After eating tonight I was trying figure out what to blog about and I instantly thought of the creamy, spicy take on mac and cheese that I made a few weeks ago.  It made me wish I had whipped up a batch today to go with the super yummy bbq, it would have been the perfect pairing. Oh well, I'll think of it the next time around.

BUT!  Now, you've got the secret to this perfect pairing.  While you're letting that pork tenderloin bathe away, you can whip up this decadent, flavor packed mac and cheese that will turn your thoughts of mac and cheese upside down.  This isn't for your kids, unless of course they like a little kick---and I do mean little kick---it's really not that spicy, but it's spicy enough to scratch that itch for a spicy craving.  Whip this up for your spouse on a Sunday afternoon or take this to the next pot luck at work.  I'm not kidding, people will applaud you.  My husband LOVED this version of mac and cheese and has already asked me to make it again.  I'm sort of obsessed with cheese and more so with spicy, peppery cheeses.  Always looking for a new use, new interpretation, new recipe that can highlight these under-used cheeses.  This came about on a snowy day when all I had was an over sized block of Pepper Jack and some lonely pasta that had been staring at me in the cupboard.  Look at what can happen when your desperate, hungry and trapped. ;)

OH!  And, don't be intimidated by the cheese sauce.  It's a simple recipe of 2x2x2x2.  2 cups half and half, 2 cups Pepper Jack Cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour.  SUPER SIMPLE.

-1 pound or 1 box of Cavatappi, Penne or ridged pasta
-2 cups of Pepper Jack Cheese, freshly shredded if possible
-2 cups of Half and Half
-2 tablespoons Butter
-2 tablespoons Flour
-1/2 cup of bread crumbs
-Salt and Pepper

Directions: (serves 4)
Boil the pasta in salted water for about 10-12 minutes until al-dente.  In a separate saute' pan, melt the butter and add the flour, whisking till combined.  Add the half and half and simmer on medium-high (be patient) and let it come to a rapid boil, stirring often so it doesn't burn. Once boiling, remove from heat and stir in the cheese slowly and season with salt and pepper.  Toast the bread crumbs in a pan on low or even warm them in the microwave to get them to temp...about 1 minute.

Drain the pasta and add the cheese sauce to the pasta.  Mix well and serve in large pasta bowls.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs and some fresh herbs and voila!  So good.

Top this with chicken and you would have another week night meal :). Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

OH! So nice to find a quick stove top cooked M 'n C rather than a slow baked in the oven. Perfect after getting home later in the evening after a hectic day.

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