Spicy Red Macaroni and Cheese
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Spicy Red Macaroni & Cheese

This variation on the classic macaroni and cheese recipe adds the sweet taste and red coloring of tomato paste.  Chopped red onion and celery flavors are set off by the fiery taste of crushed red pepper.  The sharp Cheddar cheese is complimented by the dry white wine.

Recipe Serves 6 To 8





1 pound medium-size elbow macaroni
Boiling salted water
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 medium-size red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 ˝ cups milk
1 cup whipping cream
4 ounces tomato paste
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
4 cups (1 pound) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
˝ cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper
1 red bell pepper, cut into rings



1.  Following package directions, cook macaroni in a large kettle of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and set aside.

2.  Melt butter in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 5 minutes). Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and gradually stir in milk, cream and tomato paste. Return pan to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thick.

3.  Reduce heat and add crushed red pepper, Worcestershire, and 3 cups of the cheese. Stir until cheese melts; add wine. Combine cooked macaroni and cheese sauce; add salt and pep­per to taste.

4.  Turn into a shallow 3-quart baking dish; arrange bell pep­per rings on top, then sprinkle with remaining cheese.

5.  Bake, uncovered, in a 375° oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.

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.