At my old job I used to invite co-workers to my home for potlucks and one of them brought over this delicious dish. It completely changed the way I thought about macaroni and cheese. It’s the perfect hot and spicy meal on a cold and rainy day. I love it because you can use different types of cheese to completely transform the taste and character of the meal. We use Tillamook Pepper Jack and Sharp Cheddar, but if you don’t want it spicy you can just use the Colby. If you prefer a smokier flavor you can use the Smoked Cheddar, or if you really love your garlic, use a Garlic Cheddar. If you want to really kick it up a notch, try Tilamook’s Habanero Jack.
SPICY MAC AND CHEESE
2 Tablespoons Tillamook Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoon flour
½ onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ½ cups milk (I use nonfat)
1 (7 oz) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (chop the peppers, and keep the sauce)
16 ounces cooked macaroni (you can use a penne or ziti if you want, just make sure the pasta is tubular so that the cheese sauce can meander its delicious way through)
8 ounces Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
6 ounces Tillamook Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese (optional)
Note: If you want your mac and cheese to be extra cheesy, you might want to do 12 ounces of the sharp cheddar. You can use the full 8 ounces of pepper jack, but be ready for a mouth en fuego if you do.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta to al dente. Melt butter in a large saucepan then add the garlic and onion — sauté until nice and soft (about four minutes). Slowly add the flower and whisk to prevent clumping. When mixed and smooth, add the milk. Continue to whisk this mixture, then add both cheeses. Once the cheeses are nice and melted, add chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. If you find the sauce is too thick for your liking, just add a drop of milk, mix it, and repeat until you receive the desired thickness of your sauce. Pour the pasta into a 13 by 9 baking dish, then pour cheese sauce over the pasta. Mix the sauce around to fully coat all of your noodles. Smooth out the top so it’s moderately even. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs, parmesan, or any other kind of cheese on top. Cover, then cook, for about 15 minutes, then uncovered for another 15 minutes. This dish is best eaten when it’s hot!