Spache the Spatula

Peppadew Pepper Mac N’ Cheese

Comfort food at its finest!

Creamy and delicious homemade mac n- cheese that has the flavor if pimiento cheese! | spachethespatula.com #recipeThere really are few dishes more home-y and comforting that mac n’ cheese—especially oven-baked mac n’ cheese with crispy bread crumbs on top!

This is extra special, though, because it’s Peppadew mac n’ cheese! Actually, it tastes a lot like that Southern specialty pimiento cheese, only in mac n’ cheese form. It’s creamy and complex, with a little kick.

It’s good to change up the classics every now and again, no?

Creamy and delicious homemade mac n- cheese that has the flavor if pimiento cheese! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Creamy and delicious homemade mac n- cheese that has the flavor if pimiento cheese! | spachethespatula.com #recipeOh! Speaking of changing things up…I did something totally crazy (for me, anyway) this weekend, and chopped off like 2 feet of hair. I’ve had long hair since I was like 5…like waist-length long, and I’ve also had a severe fear of hairdressers. I really don’t know where that fear came from, I think I just got weirdly attached to my hair. Prior to this new do, the last time I even got my hair trimmed was 2 years ago!

hairRecently, the annoyance of dealing with long hair  (always being in the way, taking over an hour to blow-dry, never having the patience to style it…) outweighed my bizarre fear, and I decided to be slightly drastic and bob it. Okay, it’s actually a long bob, and my hairdresser assured me I have medium-length hair and not short hair, but I feel like a new person, haha! I’m still a little shocked by the change, but I think I like it?

Okay, okay back to this mac n’ cheese, which I definitely like.

Creamy and delicious homemade mac n- cheese that has the flavor if pimiento cheese! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Creamy and delicious homemade mac n- cheese that has the flavor if pimiento cheese! | spachethespatula.com #recipeI used rainbow radiatori as the pasta in this, because I love how the cheese sauce fills into all of the grooves. The green radiatori are a little off-putting, color wise, I admit, buuuuut rainbow is what I had, so rainbow is what I used.

The béchamel includes both sharp cheddar, and a bit of Neufchatel cream cheese, for extra creaminess. There’s also a slightly odd ingredient—Worcestershire sauce, which adds so much rich, deep flavor! It sounds weird, but please don’t skip it!

The breadcrumb mixture on top gives an awesome, crisp texture contrast to the creamy pasta. It’s equal parts parmesan and breadcrumbs, with some olive oil to ensure it gets crispy in the oven. I used some homemade breadcrumbs that I made by blitzing some stale bread in my food processor, but you could use store-bought. Panko would be extra crunchy and delicious!

Creamy and delicious homemade mac n- cheese that has the flavor if pimiento cheese! | spachethespatula.com #recipe Creamy and delicious homemade mac n- cheese that has the flavor if pimiento cheese! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

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Peppadew Pepper Mac N' Cheese

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. pasta (I used rainbow radiatori)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 oz. Neufchatel (1/3 less-fat) cream cheese
  • 12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped Peppadew peppers (I used the "hot" variety, but the "sweet" would be delicious also!)
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan (I use a parmigiano and pecorino blend)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a Dutch-oven or heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat the butter over medium-low heat. Add in the onions and a large pinch of kosher salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, until soft and lightly golden.
  3. Meanwhile, cook your pasta to al dente in boiling, salted water. Drains and set aside.
  4. Add in the flour and stir to combine. Increase heat to medium, and cook for a minute. In a steady steam, mix in the milk, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until it is thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese, cheddar, and Worcestershire, and continue to stir until full melted and combined. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the pasta into the sauce and toss carefully to coat. Pour into a large casserole dish.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the parmesan, breadcrumbs, and olive oil. Scatter over the mac n' cheese.
  7. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until bubbling and the top is golden.

Creamy and delicious homemade mac n- cheese that has the flavor if pimiento cheese! | spachethespatula.com #recipe

   

11 Responses to “Peppadew Pepper Mac N’ Cheese”

  1. Sarah@ Whole and Heavenly Oven — March 4, 2015 at 6:14 am

    I just love your new ‘do, Rachael! I can’t believe how long your hair was before you got it cut, but I’m seriously lovin’ it! Oh, gosh. And this mac ‘n’ cheese? Um, DYING! You just reminded me that it’s been forever since I last had a good mac and I can definitely see this happening here soon!

    • Rachael replied: — March 4th, 2015 @ 10:52 am

      Thank you so much, Sarah! Even though it was on my own head, I didn’t fully realize how long it was hahah!
      And yes! Homemade mac is too good to pass up 🙂

  2. CakePants — March 4, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Oh gosh…I <3 peppadew, but never thought to use it in mac and cheese – I cannot WAIT to try this! Your hair looks great, by the way 🙂

    • Rachael replied: — March 4th, 2015 @ 10:53 am

      You’re so sweet, thank you!
      I also think adding some goat cheese into this would be fantastic, because peppadews + goat cheese = magic!

  3. Liz @ Tip Top Shape — March 4, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Love your new haircut!!  I just got a whole bunch chopped off, too.  It’s sort liberating, isn’t it??  Also, this mac and cheese looks DELICIOUS!!!

    • Rachael replied: — March 4th, 2015 @ 10:54 am

      It really is liberating! It’s like a weight has been lifted…literally and figuratively, haha!

  4. Medha @ Whisk & Shout — March 4, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Your macaroni and cheese looks beyond amazing! Love your twist. And I totally love your hair 🙂 So pretty both before and after. As someone with long hair, I feel your struggle. It looks great!

    • Rachael replied: — March 4th, 2015 @ 9:16 pm

      Thank you so much, Medha! I’m kinda missing my long hair, since I lived with it for so long, but it’s already so much easier to deal with, haha 🙂

  5. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg — March 5, 2015 at 6:15 am

    All I want right now is this Mac N’ Cheese. I would not stop at one serving. I’m going to just eat all of my emotions and call it a day. I don’t even care if it’s not even 10:00 in the morning. 

    • Rachael replied: — March 5th, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

      Haha! I LOVE the way you think, Erin!

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