Is your mind totally blown? Don't worry -- that's a normal reaction. In my experience, 95 percent of the people I tell this random fact to think I'm bizarre. This includes my fiancé, who's from the Illinois and, like all good Midwestern boys, takes his cheese EXTREMELY seriously.
Which is why I am completely flattered when he tells me he LOVES my spicy mac & cheese. And I must admit, it's pretty insane. It's loaded with four different cheeses (including blue cheese!), seasoned with cayenne pepper, and topped with breadcrumbs. I can't take all the credit for it -- I was inspired by Eat Live Run -- but I did make some tweaks to the original to up the spiciness and add a little crunch.
Take that, Kraft!
- 16 oz macaroni noodles
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 4 cups milk
- 16 ounces mixed grated cheese (I use the mac & cheese blend my store conveniently sells - it's a mix of cheddar, monterey jack and mozzarella).
- 3.5 ounces crumbled blue cheese
- 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Cook the macaroni, and then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- In a heavy pot over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk together and cook for 30 seconds. Add 2 cups milk and whisk until smooth.
- Add another cup of the milk (reserving one cup) and continue to whisk. Cook for 4 minutes while whisking. The mixture will thicken.
- Add 12 ounces of the grated mixed cheese and stir until the cheese melts.
- Add the salt, pepper and cayenne followed by the additional cup of milk and the blue cheese crumbles. Stir well.
- Once everything is smooth, add the cooked macaroni and toss.
- Pour into a 9″13″ casserole pan and top with the remaining grated cheese.
- In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs and olive oil. Use enough oil so that the crumbs are moist.
- Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the bread crumbs.
- Bake for 24 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and gooey.
- If you like, broil for a minute or two to add some extra crunch to top.