Macaroni is a type of American pasta, which is mostly cooked as a casserole dish with shredded cheese. Normally, mac and cheese is cooked with very mild flavors but sometimes it is also cooked with peppers to enhance the flavors and to add a touch of spiciness to the dish. This is a very hearty recipe, which is perfect as a dinner meal for both children and adults.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Preparation Time Required: 10-15 minutes
Cooking Time Required: 50-60 minutes
1 stirring spoon
1 large pot
1 large baking pan
1 lb. of dry uncooked elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons of butter, at room temperature
1 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
2 cups of whole milk or half-and-half
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
2 teaspoons of onion powder
2-3 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and chopped
2 tablespoons of melted butter
Salt, to taste
1/4th teaspoon of red chili powder
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Method of Cooking
1. Take a large pot and fill it with 6-7 cups of water. Place the pot on the hob and light up the flame. Turn the knob to adjust the flame on high and then wait for the water to come to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, take a skillet and place it on the adjacent hob.
Set the flame on low below the skillet and then drop the knobs of butter into the skillet. Swirl the knobs of butter with the tip of your stirring spoon to melt the butter rapidly. Stir the butter constantly until it melts and to prevent it from burning. Once done, hold a wire sieve over the skillet and tip the flour into it. Gently shake the sieve to sift the flour directly into the skillet.
2. Maintain the flame on low and stir the flour immediately with the melted butter to mix it. Stir the mixture constantly until the entire butter gets incorporated into the flour and you get a smooth roux. Once done, stir and cook the roux for 1-2 minutes or until the raw flavor of the flour cooks out.
Next, pour the half-and-half into the skillet and stir it until the roux gets mixed with the half-and-half. Use a wire whisk to dissolve the roux into the half-and-half and continue whisking the mixture until it becomes lump free and smooth.
3. Once you get a smooth sauce, add the onion powder and the garlic powder to the sauce. Stir to combine the added ingredients with the sauce and then dump the shredded cheese into the sauce. Stir the sauce once again to dissolve the cheese into it and then cook the sauce stirring it occassioanlly for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese completely melts into it.
While the sauce is cooking, dump the macaroni into the pot of boiling water and then add a pinch of salt to the water. Give a brief stir to the mixture to dissolve the salt in it and then let the macaroni boil in the water until it turns al dente.
4. Once the sauce thickens up a bit, season it with a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and salt. Stir the sauce to combine the seasonings with it and then add-in the red chili powder. Next, take the jalapeno peppers and snap off their stems. Once stemmed, slit the jalapeno peppers in half and then extract out the seeds and veins from them. Hold the jalapeno peppers with your one hand and then chop them finely.
Once done, add the jalapeno peppers to the sauce and stir to combine them with the sauce. Once you are ready with the sauce, drain the macaroni from the pot by tipping them into a colander and then let them sit in the colander until all of the excess water drains out. Once the entire water drains out from the colander, tip the macaroni into the skillet and stir to coat them with the sauce.
5. Now take a saucepan and place it on the stove. Put the remaining butter into the saucepan and melt it. Once the butter melts completely, turn off the flame and add the breadcrumbs to it. Toss the breadcrumbs with the melted butter and then set it aside. Next, take a baking pan and grease it thoroughly with butter.
Once done, pour the macaroni mixture into the prepared baking pan. Spread the mixture into the pan and then sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture all over the macaroni. Once done, insert the baking pan into an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the macaroni for 25-35 minutes or until the cheese turns bubbly and slightly golden brown in color.