This mac ‘n cheese has three of my favorite things: bacon, cheddar, and jalapenos. It’s so good it’s almost over the top. Almost. It’s super creamy, a little bit spicy and the bacon gives it a supreme smokiness. The flavors of the aged cheddar and the green of the jalapeno blend together perfectly. I didn’t use cream, I just used milk – so if you like your mac ‘n cheese to go beyond rich then just substitute one cup of milk with a cup of cream. You can also blend another cheese in if you want, monterey jack would be awesome, or maybe gouda. The jalapeno adds great flavor, and I would not leave it out – the creaminess really cuts down on the spice, so unless you are completely spice intolerant I would leave it in.
from: ben rayl, in copenhagen dk
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- butter - 6 tbsp, divided
- white bread - 4 slices, crusts removed
- bacon - about 10 strips, cut into pieces
- jalapenos - 2, seeded and diced
- flour - 4 tbsp
- milk - 4 cups
- salt and pepper - use very generously
- irish white cheddar - 2 cups, shredded
- sharp cheddar - 2 1/2 cups, shredded and divided
- pasta - 1 lb (500 g), short or tubular cooked about 2 mins less than package directions
- Pre heat your oven to 350 F (175 C) and grease a medium baking dish. (I used a large pie pan)
- Melt 2 tbsp of the butter and in a small bowl toss it with the bread pieces then set aside.
- Cook the bacon in a heavy bottomed pot. When cooked, remove it to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Remove most of the bacon grease from the pot, but leave any bits that are stuck to the bottom.
- Add the 4 tbsp butter and jalapeno and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, scraping up the bacon bits.
- Whisk in the flour, and cook - whisking constantly - for about 3 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and just about to simmer - about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Generously add salt and pepper and stir in the white cheddar and two cups of the sharp cheddar - stir until melted, then fold in the pasta.
- Pour the pasta into the prepared dish, toss the bread pieces with the remaining 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar and spread over the top.
- Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes, until bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.