What can you do that’s new to mac and cheese? What about adding 1.) red pepper flakes, 2.) hot sauce, 3.) cayenne pepper, and 4.) jalepeño pepper? This spicy macaroni and cheese is creamy, rich, and spicy.
Kick this classic comfort food up a notch by spiking it with jalapeños, hot sauce, pepper flakes, and cayenne. Although if you’re the spice-averse type, you can cut back or eliminate any or all of these elements without sacrificing any rich, cheesy awesomeness.–Angie Zoobkoff
Spicy Macaroni and Cheese
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H
- Serves 8
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 oz), plus more for the baking dish
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- Coarse kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
- 3 jalapeños (2 1/2 oz), 2 seeded and chopped, and 1 thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 2% or whole milk, warmed
- 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (8 oz)
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon store-bought or homemade hot sauce , or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 cup fresh plain, whole wheat, or panko bread crumbs (21 g)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- Prepare the oven and pan
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) ovenproof casserole or baking dish.
- Prepare the penne
- 2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, add the penne, and cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain well and return to the pot.
- Make the sauce
- 3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir in the garlic and chopped jalapeños and cook until fragrant, about 60 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring almost constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes.
- 4. While whisking constantly, slowly pour in the milk and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Mix the pasta
- 5. Add 1 cup of the cheese, the mustard powder, hot sauce, and red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish.
- Bake and serve the pasta
- 6. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cayenne, and 1 cup of cheese. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the cheesy pasta. Bake until bubbling and golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.
- 7. Top with sliced jalapeños and serve immediately.