Macaroni & Cheese is one of America’s favorite foods. There are so many varieties of Mac & Cheese and I am sure many of you have your own special recipe. For me, its about creating a comfort food that is creamy, decadent and really satisfying, and after one bite you can’t just stop there.
My husband is one of the biggest Mac & Cheese lovers I know and he enjoys his slightly spicy with a super creamy texture. This recipe gets its heat from Habanero Jack Cheese. You can find habanero jack at most big box stores, grocery stores or online, and it adds a bit of spice without completely knocking you over the head. This cheese actually sounds much hotter than it tastes, kids will even love it.
So, for those of you that still prefer that little blue box, give it a rest and try something from scratch. This recipe is easy to prepare and has all the comfort of traditional macaroni & cheese and a little something more.
1 pound macaroni pasta
3 tablespoons butter + more for dish
1 cup pancetta, or ham diced
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 pint whole milk
2 cups Habanero jack cheese
2 cups white cheddar cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil a large pot of salted water and cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Dice onion and shred cheeses for sauce.
2. In a large pan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoon of butter, onion and pancetta. Cook for 4 minutes, until slightly softened.
3. Add mustard and flour and whisk for 1 minute until incorporated. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Cook while stirring for 4 minutes, until thickened.
4. Add cooked pasta to sauce and stir over low heat for 1 minute. Pour pasta into a buttered oven safe 4-quart dish.
5. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top and place in oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!