Pass the Cook Book Club: Sunny Anderson’s Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

Choosing from the recipes this month proved to be just as difficult as usual for Pass the Cook Book Club. I almost made the Loaded Puff Pastry Sticky Buns but when push came to shove an entrée was more in demand than a breakfast pastry. I had already made ribs for a previous month so I went with the Spicy Macaroni and Cheese.

PCBC-post-image

After Kita mentioned that she thought there was an uneven proportion of cheese to pasta, I decided to double the pasta instead of reducing the cheese. Because when is there ever too much mac and cheese? Also, the recipe originally called for cayenne pepper and sour cream but I did not have cayenne (apparently forgot to add it to my grocery list after finishing it off), so I used chipotle chile pepper and you all know how much I love substituting things like sour cream with Greek yogurt.

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese 1

In the end, it was much better than the spicy mac and cheese I’ve made before but it wasn’t quite as creamy as some others. However, the flavors definitely outweighed the slightly less creamy nature. I especially enjoyed the textural addition of croutons on top. I will definitely reheat the leftovers in my toaster-oven to ensure those crunch-factors don’t get chewy!

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese 2

One year ago: Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

Two years ago: Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

SPICY MACARONI AND CHEESE

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

CROUTONS

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

4 slices white bread cut into 1/2-inch squares

Salt

PASTA

8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

8 oz. colby cheese, shredded

8 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded

4 cups cooked elbow pasta, almost al dente

CUSTARD

2 tsp all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp chipotle chile pepper

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/8 tsp grated nutmeg

1/4 cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt (I used 2% Chobani)

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup grated yellow onion

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup half-and-half

Directions:

  1. In a skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Toast the bread cubes in the butter until golden – about 5-6 minutes.
  2. Remove to a paper towel lined plate, season with a pinch of salt, and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish, and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, toss together the cheddar, colby and pepper jack cheeses.
  5. In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta and 3/4 of the mixed cheese and set aside.
  6. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard, and nutmeg. Add in the sour cream, egg, onion, heavy cream and half-and-half and whisk until smooth and combined.
  7. Pour the custard over the pasta and cheese blend and mix well. Pour into the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.
  8. Bake uncovered for about 35 minutes until the cheese is just about set and top is beginning to brown.
  9. Remove from the oven, sprinkle on the croutons and return back to the oven for another 10 minutes or so until everything is golden brown.

Source: Adapted slightly from Sunny’s Kitchen:  Easy Food for Real Life by Sunny Anderson.


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