I chose to create a new kind of macaroni with cheese dish from ingredients that I enjoy in separate foods, but thought they would work well together. I took the actual cheese sauce preparation from the way my mother showed me how she used to make it, but unlike my recipe, using sharp cheddar cheese. I thought that the textures and spice of the ingredients would work well together in the end. This recipe is made to serve a whole family for dinner, as a side dish with other food. I really enjoyed creating the recipe, and my friends and family who tried it enjoyed the distinct and new flavor to an old, well known American staple food, with a spicy kick!
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups medium shell pasta
3/4 cup white all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 small can of pickled jalapeño peppers
5-6 tbsp. breadcrumbs (any flavor/spices)
4 tbsp. butter
3 cups water
1. Combine 3 cups water with 2 cups of pasta in a large pot and set the stove to medium heat. Cook 10-15 minutes until pasta is cooked.
2. Place 4 tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan to melt and set the stove to low heat.
3. Mix together 1 1/2 cups of milk with 3/4 cup flour in a bowl and whisk until clumps disappear.
4. Pour mix into sauce pan containing melted butter and add 1 1/2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Stir continuously until cheese is melted. Keep saucepan on lowest heat setting until the pasta is ready.
5. Drain pasta and return it to the pot. Slowly pour in the cheese-sauce mixture from the saucepan, mixing the pasta to coat it evenly.
6. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Pour the coated pasta into a baking tray, approx. 2-3 inches deep. Then sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese on top.
7. Slice a few pickled jalapeños into small pieces.
8. Garnish the pasta dish with a layer breadcrumbs on top of the shredded cheese and then add sliced jalapeños.
9. Bake for 20 minutes without a cover.
10. Serve and Enjoy!!!