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Monday, September 21, 2020

Mac & Cheese with Smoked Pimiento Peppers & Bacon

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of Penne pasta or elbow macaroni 
  • ¼ cup diced smoked Pimiento peppers
  • 5 strips of bacon diced and fried until crispy
  • 1½ cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1½ cups of grated queso Maduro or Monterrey jack cheese
  • 1½ cups of grated mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of bacon grease drippings
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 cups of milk
  • Salt & Black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until just al dente (about 9-11 minutes). Then drain the pasta and set it aside in a covered bowl.
  • While the pasta cooks, dice the pimiento peppers and set aside.
  • Fry up the diced bacon and set aside.
  • Grate all the cheeses and set them aside.
  • Make a roux with the butter, bacon drippings, and flour by stirring with a whisk constantly over medium heat until the flour is well cooked and you have a thick paste.
  • Gradually add the heavy cream to the roux and continue whisking.
  • When the cream is thoroughly incorporated, gradually add the milk, whisking constantly until you have and nice sauce that isn't too thick. If it is very thick, add more milk to thin it out.
  • Add the diced pimiento peppers and bacon to the sauce, then fold in all the cheeses. This will thicken the sauce up as the cheese melts. If it is too thick to pour, add just a bit more milk to thin.
  • Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Layer half the pasta in a large casserole dish and pour half of the cheese sauce over the pasta to coat it evenly. Layer the rest of the pasta on top and pour the remaining cheese sauce evenly over the top.
  • Top the casserole with the Panko bread crumbs.
  • Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake about 10 minutes more to brown the bread crumbs.   

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