Jalapeño Three Cheese Mac
Mac & Cheese. Seriously, try and find something more quintessentially comfort food. Cheesy, carb-y goodness.
I feel in love with mac & cheese a few years ago when I was living in Nashville. Being a full-time musician, my schedule wasn’t overflowing with Michelin star restaurant reservations. And with food I had two main requirements: good & cheap. Thankfully, my beloved South kicks serious BBQ ass. And you can find good ‘Q’ on the cheap.
Pulled pork, beans, brisket, and mac & cheese for days and days. Comfort food heaven.
If you’ve never been, please go. At least once. The people are amazing. The food outstanding. And this Canadian who is used to several feet of snow every winter season was in a warm tropical paradise.
**A little note about this recipe. Please feel free to change out the cheese to whatever suites your fancy. BUT! Make sure you use good, quality cheese. No ‘$2.99 for a cheese block’ specials. Also, whole milk. I’m totally aware that 2% is probably healthier, but the richness won’t be there and you’ll definitely miss it. And com’on! It’s mac & cheese – no one eats this as a health conscience lunch. Make it count**
Jalapeno Three Cheese Mac
1 pound pasta shells
5 ½ cups whole milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
3 cups grated old cheddar
3 cups grated Monterey jack
2 cups grated gruyere (or swiss)
2 jalapenos, finely diced (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
Preheat your oven to 400.
Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a boil, and cook your pasta according to box instructions (you want then al dente).
In a medium sauce pan, melt your butter. When the butter has melted, add your flour, and whisk to combine. Continue cooking, moving constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly pour in your milk, while whisking. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens (about 5 minutes). Turn the temperature to low, and add your mustard, salt, diced jalapenos, and pepper. Working in batches, add 2 cups of cheddar, 2 cups of Monterey Jack, and 2 cups gruyere, until melted together and nice & smooth.
Butter a large casserole (or oven safe) dish, and pour in your pasta. Pour your cheese in and mix it all together. Top with 2 cups of reserved cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden brown.