Smoked Cheddar and Creole Mac and Cheese

Total Time:
40 min
15 min
25 min

8 to 10 servings

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound medium macaroni shells
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons Jake's Creole Seasoning or store-bought creole spice blend
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 cups shredded smoked Cheddar
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack
  • In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve.

  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the panko and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, toasting until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

  • In a separate large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk vigorously to combine, being careful not to burn the mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring the bechamel to a simmer, and cook to thicken, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the Creole seasoning and dill.

  • Place the egg in a medium bowl. Remove 1/3 cup of the bechamel sauce and whisk it into the egg to temper. Then add the egg-bechamel mixture back into the pot and whisk to combine. Gradually add the smoked Cheddar, Monterey jack and pepper jack, whisking to maintain a smooth texture and avoid clumping. Stir in the cooked pasta.

  • Spoon the warm mac and cheese into a serving bowl. Top with the panko breadcrumbs.

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