I’ve been a little obsessed with pepper jack cheese lately. After basically forgetting that it even existed for a long time, I’ve gone through three bricks of it in about a month. What can I say? It’s delicious on burgers, in grilled cheese, and in eggs. It turns out that it’s also the key to a fantastically creamy, comforting macaroni and cheese with just the slightest bit of extra oomph.
This recipe for pepper jack mac and cheese comes from Nicole at Colie’s Kitchen. I was paired up with her for this month’s Secret Recipe Club. It’s been a while since I’ve done a secret recipe club post, so if you don’t remember what it’s all about it’s a cooking club where bloggers are paired up with another blog and are tasted with testing out one of their recipes. I’ve had a few big projects going on that have been sopping up all of my creative energy, so it seemed like a good time to give myself a break and try out someone else’s food. I’m really glad that I was assigned to Colie’s blog – it’s great and I had a hard time picking just one recipe to try!
This mac and cheese, which is a riff on her jalapeño monterey jack chicken penne is super creamy, and monterey jack gives it a classic, mild flavor. I opted to leave the chicken out of the pasta itself and served it with homemade baked chicken tenders instead. All in all, it was the perfect comfort food for a rainy Friday night!
- 16 ounces ridged pasta, such as cavatappi
- 3 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- ½ green bell pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
- 3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- ½ cup skim milk
- 8 ounces (1 brick) Cabot pepper jack light, shredded
- ¼ cup reduced fat sour cream
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package.
- While the pasta cooks, add the bacon to a cold pan. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the fat renders and the bacon crisps, about 7 minutes. Add the butter, onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno; cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook 1 minute.
- Pour in the broth and milk and cook until the mixture begins to thicken and starts to bubble, about 10 minutes. Slowly stir in the cheese and sour cream. Drain the pasta, then stir into the sauce.
Be sure to check out everyone else’s recipes too!