My Recipe Box

Mac and Cheese with Jalapeño and Scallions


Serves 6

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 115

Sautéed fresh jalapeños and scallions bring a little Southwestern kick to the classic mac and cheese.

Want to make a version with less heat? Create a recipe with your favorite pasta, cheeses, spices, herbs, meats, and vegetables using the Macaroni and Cheese Recipe Maker.

For the Topping:
  • 1 small garlic clove, mashed into a paste or pressed (optional)
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups coarse, fresh breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino (optional)
For the Macaroni:
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 10 oz. finely grated sharp Cheddar
  • 1 cup finely grated Mahon reserva
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. rotini pasta
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, sautéed
  • 3 Tbs. minced jalapeños, sautéed
Make the Topping:

If using the garlic, stir it into the butter. Put the breadcrumbs in a medium bowl and drizzle the butter over the crumbs. Add a pinch of salt and the Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino (if using). With your hands, toss well to combine. Set aside.

Make the Macaroni:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk over low heat for 3 minutes—the butter and flour should gently bubble and froth without coloring. Slowly add the milk, while whisking constantly. Be sure to whisk around the edges of the pan to get all the lumps. Whisk until the sauce is smooth and has the consistency of heavy cream, about 6 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer, whisking constantly. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and gently whisk in the Cheddar and Mahon. Season to taste with salt. Keep warm.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the rotini and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 1 minute less than indicated on the package. Drain well and return to the pot.

Add the cheese sauce, scallions, and jalapeños to the pasta and gently stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to a 9x13-inch baking dish and evenly scatter the reserved breadcrumbs on top. Bake at 350°F until the top is golden, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.


For individual servings: choose small baking dishes that hold 1-1/2 to 2 cups each. You can fill them to within about 1/2 inch of the rim. The number of servings will, of course, depend on the volume of your baking dishes.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 830, Fat (kcal): 42, Fat Calories (g): 380, Saturated Fat (g): 26, Protein (g): 34, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10, Carbohydrates (mg): 77, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 1170, Cholesterol (g): 120, Fiber (g): 4,

Photo: Scott Phillilps

I thought this turned out bland and one dimensional. It needs another layer of flavor, something to break the monotony. I thought it lacked greatly in salt content as well, so maybe adding parmesan in the cream mixture, or shredded on top of the crumb mixture and broiled shortly. Otherwise, maybe adding prosciutto or something might help. The creaminess was great, just needs more dimensions.

Excellent Mac-N-Cheese! I added a roasted pepper to the mix for extra kick and flavor! Recommend using a tad bit more salt in the cheese sauce once combined. Pretty easy and a hit with everyone!

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