Make no mistake, I adore macaroni and cheese.
I have posted a recipe here before and it is sublime. It is one of my favorite things to eat, and I love to tinker with my original recipe and see what new variations I can come up with. This new recipe combines macaroni and cheese with another of my culinary loves, Tex-Mex food. Trust me, this recipe really, really works! How do I know this? Well, aside from my own judgment in the matter, my husband ate a whole bowl. A whole bowl people! He is not a big fan of macaroni and cheese and he ate a WHOLE BOWL. I was in utter shock.
What makes this macaroni and cheese so irresistible? I’d say the Ro*tel tomatoes (a Southern staple), the minced jalapeno, and the colby-jack cheese. These three ingredients give the final dish a distinctly Tex-Mex flavor, almost like a bowl of queso dip. Oh, but it is so much better!
If you are looking for a quick side dish that won’t take any space in your oven, say for Thanksgiving or Fourth of July, this is perfect! It takes twenty minutes to make, you only dirty one pan, a bowl and a strainer, and it is a crowd pleaser! You can use any tube or spiral shaped pasta you like. If you use a rotini style pasta I would reduce the initial cooking time by nearly two minutes. Cooking the pasta too long at first will make it break apart as you stir the cheese in. It will still be delicious but it won’t look as nice.
Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese Serves 4-6
1/2 pound pasta, tube or spiral shaped
2/3 cup evaporated milk (NOT CONDENSED)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
Hot sauce to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon of habanero sauce by Puff Taco Daddy)
1 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Ro*tel tomatoes, drained (or 1/2 cup diced tomatoes and 2 tablespoons green chilies)
1 jalapeno, minced
2 strips thick cut bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
4 ounces shredded colby-jack cheese
Salt and pepper
Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions, but reduce the cooking time by one minute. Drain and set aside.
In a small bowl combine the evaporated milk, egg, hot sauce and spices. Mix well and set aside.
In the same pot you cooked the pasta in heat the butter over medium heat. Once it foams add the onion, garlic and jalapeno. Cook for two minutes, or it begins to soften. Add the Ro*tel and cook an additional two minutes.
Add the pasta to the pot and turn to coat, then reduce the heat to medium low and add the egg mixture. Cook, constantly stirring, until the sauce thickens, about three to five minutes. Add the bacon and turn to coat.
Turn off the heat and add the shredded cheeses in three installments, making sure the first is completely incorporated before adding the next.