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Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese

March Macness Winner - Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese with Sfoglini Rigatoni

The 2021 March Macness champ is JALAPEÑO POPPER MAC! Beating out Elote Mac in an epic final, the recipe is now available for a limited time to Sfoglini fans thanks to Chef Casey Corn.

Want even more cheesy goodness? Join Casey for Monthly Mac & Cheese Classes over at Chefsfeed. Each month, learn a new way to bring mac and cheese into your kitchens, along with cooking techniques, and a bit of culinary history!

INGREDIENTS

MAKES FOUR SERVINGS

  • 1 lb Sfoglini Rigatoni
  • 2 - 3 ea jalapeños
  • ½ ea yellow onion
  • 2 ea garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbs + 7 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ⅛ tsp ground white pepper
  • 4 c whole milk
  • ½ c flour
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1 lb/16 oz/4 c extra sharp cheddar
  • ½ c breadcrumbs (panko or plain)

    DIRECTIONS

    Trim the tops off the jalapeños, cut in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Finely dice and set aside; you should have about ¾ cup. Finely dice the onion (about ½ cup), and add to the jalapeños. Use a microplane to grate the garlic, or mince as finely as possible. Place in a separate bowl, and set aside.

    In a large saute pan, melt the tablespoon of butter over medium low heat. Add in the jalapeños and onions, and sweat until jalapeños are soft and onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic, and saute a minute or two more, until garlic is soft and fragrant. Season with salt, paprika, and pepper, and stir to combine spices thoroughly. 

    Once the spices have become fragrant, about another minute, lower the heat all the way, then pour in the milk. Stir well, then allow the flavors to infuse into the milk, at least 10 minutes. Do not allow the milk to simmer or scald, and stir occasionally.

    Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions, then strain. Preheat a high broiler.

    Add the flour and remaining 7 tablespoons of butter to the milk mixture, and bring the heat up to medium. Whisk often to allow the sauce to become smooth and thicken, about 10-12 minutes. 

    Stir in the cream cheese, allowing it to melt into the sauce, then turn off the heat and add in all but ½ cup of the cheddar. Fold in the pasta.

    In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and ½ cup of reserved cheddar, then sprinkle over the top of the mac and cheese. Place under the broiler for just a minute or so, to allow the top to become golden and bubbly. Serve immediately!

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