I’m still not leaving my house. I’m watching Team GB curl their way to victory, Lizzie Yarnold skeleton her face off, and the BBC subtly slam the US every chance they get. I’ve learned to accept the bias. I’ve also learned to stop giggling whenever they say something is “cracking.” Oh BBC, you’ve stolen this anglophile’s heart.
One thing the UK hasn’t quite figured out yet is jalapenos. Listen up, British friends, put more jalapenos in your food. Especially in your mac & cheese.
This batch of mac contains not only two chopped jalapenos, but also a chopped serrano chili and bacon. What?!? Oh yeah, there are three slices of crispy bacon folded into this cheesy ridiculous. It’s topped off with parm and panko to give you some crispy topping action. The first time I made this, my English gentleman said it was the best mac and cheese he’d ever had.
The higher quality of cheese you use, obviously the better it will be. I’d love to use a really fancy expensive imported English sharp cheddar for maximum flavor. Alas, I can’t afford it. The good news is, even if you use cheap shredded grocery store cheese, this is gonna be great. No need to be snobby.
The Olympics have been awesome! Oh my god, this guy! He’s the coolest. So what if I’m three days behind. It just makes the fun last longer. It’s once every two years, and I’m going to enjoy it. I’m also going to eat spicy bacon mac & cheese and leave the running to the athletes.
- 8 ounces of your favorite short pasta
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese such as cheddar, monterrey jack, or colby (I used 1/2 cup mexican blend and 1 cup cheddar)
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 10 grinds black pepper
- 3 slices bacon
- 2 jalapenos, chopped
- 1 serrano pepper, chopped
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat your oven to 325 and lightly spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick spray.
- Put a large pot of water on to boil. Once it reaches a rolling boil, add salt and pasta. Cook one minute less than package instructions to be sure your pasta is al dente. Drain.
- In the meantime, in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat, melt butter. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and whisk to combine. Cook for about one minute. Slowly whisk in milk, then stir in the cheese. Allow this mixture to come to a bubble and thicken. Stir in onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, and pepper. Remove from heat.
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, cut your three strips of bacon in with scissors and cook to desired crispness level. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate, then drop your chopped peppers into the hot bacon grease. Sautee for about five minutes to soften the peppers a bit.
- Once all your components are complete, it's time to combine them. Put your drained pasta back into the big pot, then stir in the sauce, bacon, and peppers. Transfer to casserole dish and sprinkle the top with parmesan and panko bread crumbs. Bake for about 45 minutes.
- Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes lest you be burned by bubbling cheese. It may seem like a good idea because this will smell really awesome. Be patient. You will be rewarded.
- This recipe has a few things happening all at once. Just channel Rachael Ray. You'll be fine. Remember to set a timer for your pasta and keep an eye on everything.