Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chipotle Mac & Cheese

Am I the only one who thought of chipotle as more of a Mexican fast-food joint than an item you cook with?  Apparently, chipotles are dried jalapenos, and the ones canned in adobo (the can comes with almost 10 peppers) are extra flavorful.  I bought a can of chipotles in adobo to make this recipe and I'll never be the same.  When mixed in well it makes the whole dish taste of spicy smokiness.  Yum.

It's shocking I haven't managed to put bacon in mac and cheese before, but needless to say, it makes a great thing even better.  But what puts this mac and cheese over the top is the combination of chipotle and bacon.  Both have a smokiness and richness that tastes perfect together.

The pasta cooks in the oven (lasagna-style), so you don't have to bother with the pre-cooking step.  Instead of cooking in water, it absorbs the flavor of chipotle-spiced milk it cooks in.

This mac and cheese gets a crispy top and crispy sides, which means even more of the best part of the mac and cheese.  Honestly, this is one of the best things I have made in ages.  I might even make it again next weekend it was so good.  And it happens to be a lot easier than other mac and cheese recipes, which makes it even better.  If you don't like spicy food you could just make the recipe without the chipotle (though I would add some fresh pepper), and if you don't like bacon then you know what to do.

Speaking of bacon...Does someone smell the bacon?  Harper rarely seems interested when I cook dinner, but bacon piqued her interest like it would to any good LaBarre.

Chipotle Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Homesick Texan

Butter for the pan
2 cups uncooked elbow pasta
2 cups whole milk
1 cup cottage cheese
1 chipotle chili canned in adobo (look in the international section)
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of cumin
Kosher salt to taste
3 cups freshly shredded cheese (a mixture of Monterey jack and cheddar)
4-6 pieces of cooked bacon, chopped into small pieces

Cook 4-6 pieces of bacon in a 400 degree oven  for 15 minutes (or until crispy).  Drain on paper towels.  When done, change the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Butter a 9-inch cast iron pan or a 9x9 baking pan.  Add 2 cups of uncooked elbow pasta to a large bowl.  In a blender, mix 1 cup cottage cheese, 2 cups whole milk, 1 chipotle chili, 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder, 2 minced garlic cloves, pinch of cumin, and kosher salt until smooth.  Add milk mixture to the bowl with dried pasta.  Stir until mixed completely and then stir in 2 cups of shredded cheese (a mixture of Monterey jack and cheddar).  Pour the soupy mixture into the greased pan and cover tightly with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes and then remove from the oven.  Stir in half the bacon (it will still be soupy) and then top with the remainder of the bacon and the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.  Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until the top is bubbling and browned.


  1. "might even make it again next weekend" ... for me??!?

  2. This sounds like a mac and cheese recipe I would actually make...most of them seem like so many steps. The flavor combo reminds me of PW's bacon-wrapped cheese-stuffed jalapenos (which are mighty fine). Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. I heart chipotle peppers in adobo. We use them a lot for chili in our house.

  4. Sounds soo good. Harper says "Is that my food"? Silly harper.


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