The other day, I noticed that there were three unopened boxes of elbow macaroni, sitting peacefully in my cabinet. And I know what happened. Every trip to the Kroger leads me through the pasta section. And I think, “Hmmm. I wonder if I have any macaroni at home?” Better safe than sorry, I pick up a box and add it to the cart.
Tired of pushing those boxes out of the way to grab my cornmeal and whole wheat flour, I decided to put that elbow macaroni to use! This macaroni is not as excessively cheesy and creamy as you might be accustomed to. At the same time, it’s definitely delicious and comes together nicely. It’s a perfect way to make a dent in that pasta stockpile.
baked macaroni and cheese with a kick
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 25 to 30 minutes
YIELD: Serves 4 to 6
WHAT TO GRAB:
3 cups dried elbow macaroni (or other favorite pasta)
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat milk at room temperature
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
3/4 cup grated Gruyere
3/4 cup grated pepperjack
1/4 teaspoon tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 small jalapeno, diced
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
3 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup panko bread crumbs
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the flour, stirring until smooth. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn the heat to medium and gradually whisk in the milk, and cook over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the pasta, mustard, cheese, tabasco sauce, jalapeno, spices, and salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese begins to melt.
3. Pour the pasta mixture into a lightly greased 10- x 7- inch baking dish. Top with the sliced tomatoes. Mix the melted butter and panko together, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the mixture.
4. Bake uncovered at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cheese is bubbly. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then serve warm!