Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese
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Serves: 8-10 servings
 
A creamy mac and cheese using pepper jack cheese for a spicy kick.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound/ 455g macaroni or any short tube pasta
  • 9 ounces/255g Pepper Jack cheese or other spicy cheese, shredded
  • 3 ounces/85g white Cheddar cheese,shredded
  • 4 tablespoons/55g butter, unsalted
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3½ cups/830ml milk
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon honey Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric, optional
  • 2 slices bread ends
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. CHEESE SAUCE
  2. In a large saucepan melt the butter.
  3. Once the butter is melted add the flour and mix to make a roux.
  4. Cook a little to get the raw flour taste out.
  5. Add the nutmeg.
  6. Slowly add the milk and stir with a whisk to make sure it doesn't get lumpy.
  7. You can warm the milk so the sauce is lump free but I never do and I've never had a problem with a lumpy white sauce.
  8. Once the white sauce begins to bubble and thicken, pull off the heat and add your cheese.
  9. The heat from the white sauce should be enough to melt the cheese but you can put it back on the burner with the heat off.
  10. Mix the cheese until all is melted and homogenous.
  11. Add the honey Dijon mustard or your mustard of choice, and the turmeric if using.
  12. The cheese I buy is an organic, natural cheese from Whole Foods and it has no colouring.
  13. Pepper Jack by nature is a white cheese.
  14. So, to get the yellow colour of mac and cheese, I add a touch of turmeric.
  15. If you are using yellow cheddar, then you can omit the turmeric.
  16. Keep the sauce to the side as you boil the pasta.
  17. Follow the package directions to boil your pasta but boil it three minutes shy of the recommended time.
  18. You want a good bite when you pull it off the heat.
  19. The pasta will cook further in the sauce when it's baked so over cooking it now will give you a mushy mac and cheese.
  20. Keep a little of the pasta water to thin the cheese sauce if needed.
  21. Once the pasta is ¾ cooked, drain it and reserve some pasta water.
  22. Mix the pasta into the cheese sauce, coating evenly.
  23. Add a bit of pasta water if it seems too gloppy.
  24. Have a buttered baking dish ready and pour the mac and cheese into the prepared dish.
  25. If you'd like a crumb topping, take some bread ends or heels, I used the thick bread heels of a heavily seeded and grained bread, cut into small cubes and toss with olive oil.
  26. Scatter over the top.
  27. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C and place the mac and cheese on the centre rack.
  28. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the croutons are golden brown and crispy.
Recipe by Coffee and Crumpets at http://www.coffeeandcrumpets.com/pepper-jack-mac-and-cheese/