I am a weird person. My absolute favorite flavor combination is pineapples + diced tomatoes + pig + an unecessary amount of jalapenos. Subsequently, I also love pineapple and mango salsas, and Hawaiian pizza is my go to slice. For whatever reason, not enough people share in this love for me. So when it came time to test recipes for The Takedowns Mac and Cheese Off, I decided to make a mac n cheese version to try out on people when they came over to watch football with The Bee. I also happened to be making corned beef the day previous, and The Bee goes “You’re gonna put that in the mac and cheese, right, babe!?” And I said…Well, yeah sure, why not! And so I ended up making a Reuben version as well. Now, everyone that came over with the exception of one person preferred the Rueben mac. And so that is what I ended up entering. I kind of wish I had gone with this one, because I liked it better, but of course I only wished this after losing horribly. Haha. It was just SO FRIGGIN GOOD!
I had a very hard time deciding whether or not to go more Mexican or more Italian with this, and maybe that was my downfall, going more Italian, because its PASTA! But lets be real, its not like I am not going to make it again. I didn’t get fat by making boiled chicken breasts, and who doesn’t love the squishy, masturbatory sound of stirring a pot of pasta and cheese sauce? The tart pineapples with the super spicy pickled jalapenos popping in your mouth…that crunch of bacon fried in its own fat oozing salty goodness over the sweet calming hug of the oregano and fresh basil coated tomatoes…the melty mozzerella, asiago, fontina, manchego, asadero, queso gallego, and cheddar cheese all melted together in a wonderful cheesy orgy in your mouth…this mac and cheese is sex in a casserole dish for crissakes! And here’s how to make yourself some, because I do NOT have leftovers.
Serves – a bajillion people… I doubled the below recipe, but I will give you a normal sized recipe, because I care.
Nutrition – Let’s not go there. it DOES have all the food groups though!
4 cups total of assorted cheeses
4 tablespoons salted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 lb bacon, fried to a bloody crisp
1 can diced pineapple
1 cup jalapenos (i like it really spicy, you can tweak here)
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 TB chopped fresh basil
1 TB chopped fresh purple basil
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan for the crust
1 box Cavatappi pasta, or pasta of choice, cooked very al dente, drained, and rinsed with cold water. (Sometimes I like to use 1/2 box of pasta and a head of chopped, steamed cauliflower instead of just pasta as well, you cant even tell its there)
First you want to make a roux. get a stock pot and melt your butter very gently so it doesn’t break down, then sprinkle in the flour whilst whisking until you have a beautiful, gooey yellow paste at the bottom of your pan.
Then start whisking in your cream and milk, and congratulations! You have just made a bechamel! Add the pepper and heat your sauce, stirring constantly and being careful not to burn it, and then starting adding the cheeses, stirring, stirring, stirring.
Now you can lower the burner to just keep it warm, and add in your pasta, and enjoy the sounds of mixing it together! : )
Now, you can stop here and eat that baby as is. BUT you can also do yourself a favor and mix in your favorite things. I tossed my tomatoes in oregano and basil, minced my jalapenos, roughly chopped the pineapple chunks, and crushed my bacon. This mix goes right in to the pot.
How friggin gorgeous is that!? go ahead and set your oven to preheat to 350 as you are stirring, and then transfer your pasta to the pan or casserole dish of your choice, and cover with Parmesan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top is all crusty and hot and burnt and wonderful. : )