Baked Mac N Cheese with Cherry Peppers and Bacon Recipe

Justin Levy

If you’re looking for a light, healthy, low-carb, low-fat dish then you’ve arrived at the wrong recipe today. This baked macaroni and cheese with cherry peppers and bacon screams not healthy but is a soul-warming, hearty, cheesy, wonderful delight that will have everyone at your kitchen table begging for more. Never again will you eat boxed macaroni with fake cheese powder!

The great thing about this recipe is that it is fairly easy and straightforward to make, except it does require a bit of prep time. It’s a great dish to make with your spouse or kids so that you can divide up the tasks such as the shredding and chopping.

Baked Mac N Cheese with Cherry Peppers and Bacon Recipe

Ingredients

Mac N Cheese

  • 1/4 lb shredded Fontina cheese
  • 1/4 lb shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1/4 lb shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 lb chopped bacon
  • 1 lb Cavatelli pasta – you could substitute elbow macaroni or any spiral pasta that you prefer which will hold up to a heavy cheese sauce
  • 1/3 c Hot cherry peppers (or to taste) – seeded and sliced into rings
  • 2 c milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 4-5 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 French bread – chopped into squares
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • Small handful of finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Topping

  • 1 large tomato sliced thin

Preparation

Mac N Cheese

Bring water to a boil, add pasta and cook for 6-8 minutes until just before reaching al dente. Since the pasta is going to continue cooking once added to the cheese mixture and then will be baked, it shouldn’t be cooked fully at this stage.

In a small pot, add the milk and bring to a simmer but avoid burning.

In a larger pot, preferably a heavy-bottomed pot such as a dutch oven, cook the chopped bacon over medium to medium-high heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside for later. Add the onions to the bacon grease and cook 2-3 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon until melted. Whisk in flour for 1-2 minutes and then whisk in warmed milk and let come to a simmer until it begins thickening. Slowly add the cheese and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until it is fully incorporated. Add the pasta, cherry peppers, bacon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Fold in all of the ingredients and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Spoon the macaroni and cheese mixture into either a large glass baking dish or, even better, gratin dishes.

Breadcrumbs

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and place chopped French bread onto a baking tray for approximately 8-10 minutes or until the bread is crunchy. Remove the bread from the oven and place into a food processor and pulse the processor until finely crumbled. If you don’t have a food processor, you can always finely chop the bread but it is definitely easier with a food processor.

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and add the chopped garlic. Allow the garlic to cook for 1-2 minutes, add the breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper. Incorporate together and cook for another 1-2 minutes then add the Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat and sprinkle evenly over the macaroni and cheese.

Add 2-3 tomato slices across the top, depending on the size of your baking vessels, and bake in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the cheese bubbly.

Remove from the oven and serve either as is or transfer to a serving dish.

Enjoy!

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  • http://twitter.com/AndreaJPhillips Andrea J. Phillips

    Thanks–I’ll try it next week and will let you know how the kids vote! I think they’ll love it. And great idea to have them help cook. Even the 2-year-old loves to “cook,” and they’ll generally eat more of “grown-up” meals they’ve helped prepare.

  • http://justinrlevy.com justinlevy

    That’s awesome! I would definitely love to hear what they think! Next time
    I make it I’m going to try adding chicken into it for another element.

  • http://www.amishbabycrib.com baby cribs

    I miss making these kinds of stuff. I always love putting generous amount of cheese when it comes to these.