Despite the recent 70-degree weather, its still technically winter, and all it takes is one frigid night to send us running for our hats and scarves. Spring fever may be right around the corner, but there is still time to enjoy the winter comfort food meals that make those chilly nights a bit more bearable, and nothing says comfort food quite like mac ‘n cheese. Sure the old fashioned stuff is good, but we decided to put a southern spin on this classic with the addition of our Spicy Goat Pimiento Cheese and some classic North Carolina hoop cheese. So if the long wait for spring is getting tiresome, head into the kitchen and whip up what is sure to become a southern comfort classic!
Baked Pimiento Mac ‘n Cheese
- 2 c shredded sharp cheddar (1/2 c reserved)
- 2.5 c shredded NC hoop cheese
- 1 4 oz. container HCC spicy goat pimiento cheese*
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 c whole milk
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1.5 c panko bread crumbs
- salt & pepper
- 1 lb cavatappi, ziti, or orrechiette pasta, cooked and drained
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat. When completely melted stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, mixing thoroughly to make a roux.**
- Turn heat up to high and whisk milk into the roux. Continue whisking until it comes to a boil, then remove from the heat. Add the 1/8 tsp nutmeg and stir in the pimiento cheese, the hoop cheese, and 1.5 cups of the cheddar until they are melted. Add salt & pepper to taste.
- Toss the pasta with the cheese mixture and then pour into an 8×11 baking pan. Top with the tomato slices, divide the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar over each tomato slice, and then evenly sprinkle the bread crumbs over the whole dish.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake just until the breadcrumbs are browned (10-15 minutes more)
**A roux is a paste of a fat (in this case butter) and a starch (usually flour) that is used to thicken sauces, gravies, and soups.