Ever Evolving Food Blog

Hello Everyone! I have had this blog for years now, and as my personal life has changed, so have my tastes and eating habits...for the better!! I am now a fully plant-based eater, so my newer recipes will reflect this lifestyle and way of eating.

All of my old recipes will remain on my food blog, of course, so there will be a mixture of the old and the new for everyone to look through and choose. You can always play around with any recipe out there and make it your own, whether it's plant-based or not. There are always other options!
Thanks SO much for following! Happy Eating!

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pimento Mac & Cheese

This is a new twist on an old favorite.  It's a grown-up version of the mac & cheese we all loved as kids (and still do).  You can make this as individual small dishes or in a casserole dish for the whole family to dig in to.  The added sauteed onions and bacon give it some flair!  YUMMY!!

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into one inch pieces
2 tsp minced garlic
1 large, yellow onion, chopped
4 pieces of center cut bacon, chopped into 1/2 in pieces
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided (not the kind you buy in the cylinder cans, but the actual grated kind you find in the Bertolli refrigerated section)
3/4 cup drained roasted red peppers in brine, chopped (set the brine aside for later) (you can use pimentos if you can't find the roasted red peppers)
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 1/4 cup (packed) coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup (packed) coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
8 oz medium shell pasta

Bring 1/2 cup water, bell pepper, and 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pepper is soft (~15 min.).  Set aside to cool.

In a medium saucepan, sautee onions and bacon together until cooked through (~10 minutes).  Set aside.

Toast panko in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden, stirring often (~2-4 min.). Transfer to a bowl, cool to lukewarm.  Rub 1 Tbsp butter into crumbs to coat.  Mix in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Transfer bell pepper mixture to food processor or blender.  Add roasted peppers and 1 Tbsp. brine, chili powder, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, cheddar, and 1/2 cup Parmesan.  Blend until sauce is smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until tender, but still firm to bite (~12-13 min.). Drain and return to pot.  Stir sauce, onions & bacon, and mozzarella into pasta.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Spray an 8 cup casserole dish (or 6 individual baking cups) with non-stick cooking spray.  Spoon pasta mixture, sprinkle wiht crumb topping.  Bake pasta until topping is crisp and sauce is bubbling (~25 min. or ~15 for individual baking cups).  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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