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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pimiento Mac 'n Cheese

Pimiento Mac 'n Cheese
What's every kid's favorite food - at least at some point?*

Mmmm-hmmm, macaroni and cheese. It's been my daughter's favorite for darn near her whole 11 years. And she even likes the boxed stuff. Dare I say, I think she may even prefer it sometimes. Whatcha gonna do?

Now, me on the other hand, have never liked the boxed stuff. Not even as a kid. But I love me homemade mac and cheese. As often happens, we're tossing out ideas for dinner. 6 times out of 10, said daughter throws the mac out there as a suggestion. Groans rise up from around the room, and she looks wide-eyed around at everybody like she has no clue what their problems are.

But as long as I have some sort of pasta noodle in the pantry, and some sort of cheese in the fridge, everybody else is a lot more receptive.  This particular mac and cheese is all done on the stovetop, and can be on the table in under 30 minutes.

Pimiento Mac 'n Cheese
It's flecked with bright red bits of pimiento, and has some smoked paprika stirred in, which adds a very mild, smoky heat to each bite. Oh, and did I mention that it's pretty creamy and irresistible?  It is. Plus, it's not from a box, so it's a skillet of goodness that everybody can get behind.

*Yes, I realize that my first statement is not fact. But I bet it comes pretty darn close.

Pimiento Mac 'n Cheese
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by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: entree side vegetarian sugar-free soy-free nut-free cheese pasta pimiento American

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 8 ounces Penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces jarred diced pimiento, drained
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Prepare pasta according to package directions.

In the meantime, melt the butter in a large, deep-sided skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to make a roux; cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, simmering and whisking until it has thickened a bit.

Stir in the cheese, pimientos, and seasonings until smooth. Add warm, drained pasta, and cook for another minute or two, until well-combined and heated through.

-adapted from Simple Weeknight Meals
Pimiento Mac 'n Cheese