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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

four cheese serrano mac & cheese (and cheese, and more cheese)

serrano mac and cheese

Can you ever have too many mac and cheese recipes? My sister told me she tried mincing some serrano peppers (remember her libba burgers??) and sauteing them in the butter she used for making the cheese sauce. Since I have a little serrano pepper plant - producing about 20 new peppers a week (really!), I had to try this. I threw in 4 cheeses, not to be fancy, but just to use up the ends of a bunch of things: cheddar, brie, gouda, parmesan. Some panko bread crumbs on top added some crunch to the rich cheese - perfect!

Grocery list: 3-4 cups shredded cheese, 1 pound dried pasta, 3 cups milk, flour, butter, 1 chopped onion, 2-3 minced garlic cloves, 3-5 minced serrano peppers.

serrano garlic onion cheese

It really helps to do the prep work before starting the cheese sauce. Mince the garlic and serranos, and chop the onion. Any soft cheese (like brie) should be diced, and the other sharp cheeses can be shredded.

onions garlic serrano for mac and cheese

Start the roux as usual by melting 4-5 T of butter in a saucepan. Instead of immediately adding the flour, saute the onions, garlic and peppers for about 5 minutes.

roux for serrano mac and cheese

When the onions are transparent, stir in 4-5 T flour - it will turn into a paste. Slowly stir in the milk a little at a time; bring almost to a boil to thicken, then turn the heat down very low. Stir in the cheeses to melt, then remove from heat.

cooking panko

If you want to use the panko crust, melt a couple tablespoons of butter over medium heat, then add 1-2 cups of panko crumbs. Stir occasionally until the panko starts to toast, then remove from heat. Cook the pasta according to the package directions (minus a couple of minutes - it's best to leave it extra al dente, since it will continue to cook in the hot cheese sauce).

serrano mac and cheese to bake

Place the pasta into a large greased casserole dish; sprinkle grated parmesan and panko crumbs over top. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and golden on top.


Mama Liz said...

So was it delicious? So funny that you did the bread crumbs because that was going to be my next edition of mac-n-cheese too!!

KT said...

yes, it was SOOO good. sauteing the serranos made it not so spicy, just enough kick... try the panko instead of regular breadcrumbs (same aisle, right beside regular breadcrumbs and flour etc) - i think it's a crispier, better texture...


Morgan said...

I can't wait to try this!! No, there can never be too much mac-n-cheese!

Dr Zibbs said...

Whoa! This looks great!