One of the first things that comes to my mind when I think of comfort food in the cold weather is Mac n’ Cheese. But, not just your standard pasta and cheese sauce. There is just something about the combination of cheddar and jalapeno that can’t be beat. The tomatoes make it more like a queso, but you can omit them entirely and still have an incredibly awesome dish. We change it up on occasion. Mushrooms are great in here as well if you’re craving them.
- 2 boxes of Farfalle (bow tie) Pasta
- 1/2 Spanish Onion – diced
- 1 brick of Velveeta Cheese
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 1 cup of milk
- 2 jalapeños – finely diced
- 1/2 Spanish Onion diced
- 2 cups of shredded old cheddar cheese
- 2-3 tomatoes -diced (optional)
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- Salt to taste
(This is a pretty open-ended book. Change the cheeses up, or add more if you want. Just make sure you have a thick, creamy consistency that will meld well with your pasta. Throw in some Boursain. Add some Asiago. Whatever you makes you happy!)
- 1/2 cup seasoned panko
- 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
- 2-3 tablespoons of salted butter
- Grated Parmesan or Asiago
Let’s Do This!
Start by making the cheese sauce. It is the longest part of this recipe. Sweat off the onion and jalapenos in the bottom of the sauce pot with a little bit of oil and butter. Put all of the ingredients except the tomatoes into a sauce pot and slowly warm and melt them together. You don’t want to burn this. Cover the pot. Stir occasionally. Once everything is melted, stir in tomatoes. Leave on low and continue to stir occasionally for about 10 minutes.
Chop 1/2 of the Spanish onion and put it in your pot that you will be boiling your pasta in. Add salt to the water (ALWAYS SEASON YOUR PASTA WATER!) and bring to a boil. Cook your pasta halfway. If the box says 11 minutes, cut that in half. You will be baking this later which will complete the cooking process for the pasta.
The Crusty Top
While you are waiting for the pasta, combine your Panko and breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl. Slowly add melted butter 1 tablespoon at a time while mixing together. You still want them to be “dry” but buttery.
Put your half cooked pasta with onions into a casserole dish and start mixing in the cheese sauce. Don’t be shy. The pasta will soak in a LOT of the sauce, so be liberal with it. Saving some is smart too, and you can add it into your individual servings. I like mine drowning in this stuff. Evenly sprinkle your bread crumb mixture over the top and sprinkle on the Parmesan or Asiago cheese. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes. Switch oven to low broil and toast the top until golden brown. Remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes and serve.