This was one of those meals that constantly got moved around my weekly menu – week to week it was on the list, but for one reason or another it never got made and then got bumped to the following week. Well, finally I made it – and it was absolutely delicious. I really wish I had made it sooner. The jalapeno and pepperjack cheese make this dish just spicy enough– but not so much that your mouth is on fire. Speaking of fire – I really need to be more careful when I am chopping and seeding jalapenos – I must of had some of the oil on my hand and touched my face. I was totally on fire and even my finger hurt for a day or two before it finally went away. I am going to wear disposal gloves next time – I’ve learned my lesson!
- 4 cups dried pasta
- 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 roasted red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
- 7 Tbsp. butter, divided
- 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 8 oz. colby jack cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. When the water boils, cook the pasta according to the package directions, minus 1-2 minutes, strain, then set aside.
2. In the meantime, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan medium-high heat. Add the onion, red pepper and jalapeno to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant and tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside in a separate bowl.
3. In the now empty saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter is completely melted, whisk in the flour. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it turns a light golden brown color and begins to foam, about 2 minutes.
4. Whisk in the milk until well blended. Cook the mixture, whisking or stirring frequently, until it begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Whisk in the spices. Add the cheeses to the mixture and whisk until completely melted and well incorporated. Remove from the heat.
5. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Return the drained pasta to the large pot. Add in the cooked vegetables and the cheese sauce, and mix until well blended. Transfer the mixture to a 4-quart casserole dish.
6. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb mixture in an even layer on top of the pasta. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the mixture is heated through and the topping is golden brown.
Source: Annie’s Eats