Spicy Macaroni and Cheese
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Spicy Macaroni & Cheese

Chopped red onions, diced jalapeno peppers, and plum tomatoes are blended with Monterey Jack and extra sharp Cheddar cheese.  The flavors of garlic and the blending of coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper give you hints of the flavor of old Mexico.

Recipe Serves 6 To 8

 

Ingredients

 

 

1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onion
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced pickled jalapeño chilies, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
a 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained well with the tomatoes finely chopped
½ teaspoon cayenne if desired
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Monterey Jack (about 6 ounces)
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 6 ounces)
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan (about 1/4 pound)

 

Directions

1. In a large heavy saucepan cook the onion, the garlic, the jalapeños, the coriander, and the cumin in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened.

2. Stir in the flour, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the milk in a stream, whisking, bring the liquid to a boil, whisking, and whisk in the tomatoes.

3. Simmer the mixture for 2 minutes and add the cayenne and salt and pepper to taste.

4. In a kettle of boiling salted water cook the macaroni for 6 to 7 minutes, or until it is barely al dente, drain it well, and in a large bowl combine it with the tomato mixture.

5. Stir in the Monterey Jack and the Cheddar and transfer the mixture to a buttered 9” by 13” shallow baking dish.

6. In a bowl stir together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese.

7. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the macaroni mixture, and bake the macaroni and cheese in the middle of a preheated 375° oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it is golden and bubbling.
 

Macaroni Recipe Tips

Use 3 to 4 quarts of water per pound of pasta. Unsalted water will reach a boil faster than salted water, so add salt to rapidly boiling water just before adding the pasta. Use about 1 teaspoon salt for each quart of water.

Adding 1 tablespoon olive oil to the cooking water keeps pasta from sticking together while cooking. Olive oil in the water also keeps the water from boiling over.