Spicy Bacon Mac and Cheese
Serves 2 | with Pickled Jalapeño and Crunchy Panko Topper
National Mac and Cheese Day only comes around once a year so it's important to celebrate! This household classic is anything but boring with crispy bacon, spicy jalapeño and cheesy goodness in every bite!
Produced in a facility that processes milk, sesame, eggs, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mustard, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybean and sulphites.
Monterey Jack Cheese
White Cheddar Cheese, shredded
White Wine Vinegar
Smoked Paprika-Garlic Blend
Not included in your delivery
Before starting, preheat the oven to broil.Add 10 cups water and 2 tsp salt to a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.Heat Guide for Step 1: 1/2 tbsp mild, 1 tbsp medium, 1 1/2 tbsp spicy and 2 tbsp extra-spicy!Wash and dry all produce. Add cavatappi to the boiling water. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8-9 min.Reserve 4 tbsp pasta water, then drain and return cavatappi to the same pot, off heat.Thinly slice jalapeño into 1/8-inch rounds, removing seeds for less heat. (TIP: We suggest using gloves when prepping jalapeños!)Add vinegar, jalapeños, 2 tbsp water and 2 tsp sugar to a small pot. (NOTE: Reference heat guide.) Season with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves, 1-2 min. Remove from heat. Transfer jalapeños, including liquid, to a small bowl. Set aside in the fridge to cool.
Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat.While the pan heats, cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces.When hot, add bacon to the pan. Cook, flipping occasionally, until crispy, 5-7 min.**Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.Reserve 2 tbsp bacon fat in the pan, then reheat the pan over medium. When hot, sprinkle flour over top. Cook, stirring often, until toasted, 1 min.Slowly whisk in milk. Whisk in half the Smoked Paprika-Garlic Blend. Cook, whisking often, until sauce thickens slightly, 1-2 min.
Remove the pan from the heat, then slowly whisk in Monterey Jack and white cheddar, stirring constantly, until combined, 1 min. Stir in bacon pieces, then season with salt and pepper.Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Add panko, season with pepper, then stir to combine.
Add reserved pasta water and cavatappi to the pan with cheese sauce, then stir to combine. Transfer mac and cheese to a 8x8-inch baking dish.Sprinkle panko mixture over top. Broil in the top of the oven until panko mixture is golden-brown, 3-4 min. (NOTE: Keep an eye on mac and cheese so it doesn't burn!)Drain, then finely chop jalapeños. Remove mac and cheese from the oven and top with pickled jalapeños. Divide mac and cheese between plates or bowls.