Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

In honor of me kicking off regular food blogging, here is a spicy macaroni and cheese dish I made recently. Because it definitely had a kick to it.

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

I love pasta. I could probably eat it close to every day and still not get tired of it. I especially love macaroni and cheese, and am always on the hunt for new versions of it.

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound short pasta. (I used campanelle)
olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 can chipotle corn, drained
1 can diced jalapeño, drained
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups grated Pepper Jack cheese
cayenne pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Add olive oil and butter to large skillet over medium-high heat. (I add enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan. For mine, that’s about 1 tablespoon of each). Add onion and cook until well softened. Add corn and jalapeño and cook for one minute.

Reduce heat to low. Add milk, then slowly add the cheese and stir until melted. Add cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. (I added about 3/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, but the amount you add is completely up to you and your level of heat tolerance. You don’t have to add any at all!)

Drain pasta, reserving some of the cooking water, and add to cheese sauce. Stir gently to combine everything. Check seasonings and adjust as needed. Add reserved pasta cooking water if needed to thin out the sauce.

Variations, Modifications, and Other Comments:

  • You could substitute green chiles for the jalapeño, or use them in addition.
  • If I’d had a fresh jalapeño, I would have used that instead of the canned, and added it after the onion had softened slightly.
  • If I’d had any sweet peppers of any color I would have sauteed one along with the onion as well.
  • Habañero cheese would be delicious, but I’d probably dial back on the other spicy options if I went with that.
  • You could substitute evaporated milk for the whole milk, and get a lower-fat & calorie dish. You could also use low-fat or skim milk, although the final dish wouldn’t taste the same.
  • I don’t like much garlic which is why I don’t include any, but the inspiration recipe calls for it and most people would probably like it.

The recipe was inspired by The Pioneer Woman’s Not-your-granny’s-mac-and-cheese.