Saturday, July 18, 2009

I Made Something Without Garlic?!?

When I set out to make this dish, I truly intended to have a little garlic involved, but absentmindedly forgot all about it in the process. The thing is, it doesn't really need it. This version of mac & cheese is so yummy, I almost ate the whole batch by myself. I refrained...sort of. I love making a variety of mac & cheese - it's such a versatile dish, that it allows for experimentation with different flavors. This time, I was craving jalapeno's. Here's what you'll need to get started making Jalapeno Mac & Cheese.

Pictured is a 1 pound box of pasta - you will only need about half the box (4 cups cooked). I usually cook the entire box anyway, douse what I don't need with a little olive oil (helps it keep its youthful glow) and refrigerate for later use. This time I used mini farfalle because my daughter insisted and really, who could resist this face?

Three ingredients I forgot to photograph, proving once again that I'm not perfect (please don't take away my pedestal), are salt, pepper, and cornstarch...

Melt 2 tablespoons butter while you chop up the jalapeno's and red onion - you'll need 1/2 cup chopped red onion. I like jalapeno's so I chop up two, but just do one if the heat makes you nervous. Remember, the heat is in the seeds! Saute your onion and jalapeno's in the piping hot butter until nice and tender...

Whisk in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch....

Then pour in your half & half...Stirring until thoroughly heated and just beginning to thicken, then add CHEESE!

This time I used about 1/2 cup of monterey jack, 1/2 cup of colby and 1/4 cup sharp cheddar. If you really want to spice things up, use pepper jack instead of monterey jack. I've done this and really liked it. The family, however, did not and I was forced to eat the entire batch wonder I can't button my shorts...I digress...

Add salt and pepper to taste and stir your cheese sauce until nice and creamy; stir in your cooked pasta. Remember that pasta can absorb quite a bit of salt, so don't hold back - you'll need a good full teaspoon at the very least.

Pour yourself a beverage, dish it up and enjoy!

Jalapeno Mac & Cheese

4 cups cooked pasta
2 Tbs. butter
1 cup half & half
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1-2 chopped jalapeno's
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack
1/2 cup shredded colby
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
salt & pepper to taste

Melt butter in large pan; add onion and jalapeno's; saute until tender. Whisk in cornstarch and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Stir in half & half and cook until just barely beginning to thicken; add cheese, salt and pepper; continue to stir until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy. Stir in cooked pasta and serve.