Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pimiento Mac 'n' Cheese

A short while ago my sweet friend Brenda, over at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen, pointed out her love of Rachel Ray's newest cookbook, Look + Cook.  After seeing all the great dishes that Brenda was cooking I decided to sneak a peek at the book myself.  I was really impressed with all the beautiful pictures, as well as all the fun recipes, and decided to purchase the book myself.  I quickly emailed Brenda to tell her how happy I was with the book and asked her if she'd like to do a little cook along together.  We decided on a laid-back approach of one recipe per month, posting the chosen recipe at any time during the month.  The first recipe in our little cook along is this super tasty and flavorful Pimiento Mac 'n' Cheese.

All of the recipes in Look + Cook stand out to me, but this recipe for Pimiento Mac 'n' Cheese really caught my eye. In this recipe Rachel really spices things up with with a generous dose of paprika and hot sauce.  I was a big fan of the spicy undertones in this macaroni and cheese and found myself craving it even after it was gone. This is a fantastic recipe that I will make again in the future.  Probably soon!
Pimiento Mac 'n Cheese
Adapted from Rachel Ray's Look + Cook
Serves 6
1 pound cavatappi pasta (hollow, fat corkscrew-shaped pasta) or elbows (I used mini penne)
1 tablespoon extra virgin-olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (maybe a little more)
Black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sweet paprika, plus additional for garnish
2 cups whole milk (I used 1%)
2 teaspoons hot sauce
3 cups grated sharp yellow cheddar cheese
2 (4-ounce) jars pimientos, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf or curly parsley

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.  Salt the water and cook the pasta to just shy of al dente.  Heat a large pot over medium heat with the extra virgin olive oil and butter.  When the butter melts, add the onions, garlic, and salt and cook for another minute.  Stir in the paprika.  Whisk in the milk and hot sauce and bring up to a bubble, then cook to thicken for a minute or two.  Turn off the heat and stir in half of the cheese in a figure-eight motion until melted.  Add the pimientos.  Preheat the broiler.  When the pasta is  nearly al dente, drain it well and add it to the pot with the cheese sauce.  Toss to combine.  Then under the broiler, 2 to 3 minutes.  Garnish with the chopped parsley and a generous sprinkle of sweet paprika.

Notes/Results:  This is a smooth and creamy macaroni and cheese with spicy undertones and lots of yummy garlic flavor.  One thing I liked about this macaroni and cheese is the fact that it goes under the broiler for just a few minutes, which allows it to be smooth and creamy instead of having the consistency of baked macaroni and cheese. A keeper recipe for sure!

This Pimiento Mac 'n' Cheese was February's choice for our Look + Cook Cook Along.  For the month of March Brenda has chosen Rachel's Individual Florentine Frying-Pan Pizza on page 213 of the book.  If any of you would like to cook along and need the recipe, shoot me an email and I'll be happy to send it to you.


  1. You are a MACHINE cooking through so many books! I'm impressed that you can keep track of it all.

    I've never actually had pimiento cheese (that's how you really know I'm from the northeast). But this pasta does look fantastic. Maybe I need to get a hold of that cookbook...

  2. Hey Kim, I'm making it this coming Sunday so I'll be posting it next Tuesday probably. I'm dying to make it, it looks incredibly yummy! I was going to halve the recipe but I think I'll just make the whole thing. :o) It really does look incredible. Can't wait!

  3. I would love to participate in a cook along! Can I join you in March, pretty please? :)

  4. It looks creamy and delicious. You'll be proud of me that I made my first pimento cheese today for a cookbook review. ;-) Interesting and kind of addicting--much as I hate to admit it.

  5. I love the colors and flavor combinations in here. I've never really cooked with pimientos before, but this looks like a great place to start!

  6. This sounds pretty good! And I've been wondering about that book, I'll have to go hunt it down now! Fun event, ladies =)

  7. This is a wonderful, jazzed up version of mac 'n cheese. I have been thinking about making some before February expires and you presented me with the perfect recipe. Really love the hot sauce and paprika.

  8. Now, this is a mac 'n' cheese I could get on board with. No bland things going on in this recipe. I love how colorful the dish is, too :o) Now I might have to check out that book!

  9. Oh, I like that, Kim. And I've never used paprika in mine either. Looks great.

  10. oh yum! i don't know what it is about baked pasta, but it's just so good! i love the spice in this, delicious!

  11. Love, I think a can of Rotel would work nicely too! thanks for sharing.

  12. This looks beautiful! Love the little red and green flecks in there. It makes it look so appetizing. I just made a mac and cheese dish last week that started with a pound of shrimp on the bottom of the dish; then you put 2 c. cooked macaroni on top, then poured cheese sauce over all. Boy was it yummy! The leftovers went fast :)

  13. I have yet to try pimento cheese - but it is on the list!
    Great looking mac and cheese, total comfort food!

  14. What a perfect version of mac n' chesse. My family would love this. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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  16. Yay--I got Rach's new book for Christmas! I'd love to cook along during March :-)

    p.s. Would you mind taking a minute to vote for my Pink Velvet POM cupcake here:
    And spread the word if you'd like--thanks a million!

  17. Gosh Kim, this is the second pimento cheese (ingredient) recipe that I've read this week or two. what a weakness I have for this cheesy spread that i read for years about when i lived in the midwest and knew nothing about! moving to SC was an eye-opener when i found this gloriously flavorful cheese spread! I must make this, no doubt about it, no matter how it blows my healthy nutrition intake these days...this is worth the fall of the wagon of all recipes! Roz

  18. I have this one in my "try soon queue" too! My favorite BBQ place here makes a pimiento and mac so I want to see if this is a close match.

  19. This one looks so great and very yummy. I also want to share with you this Vegan Recipes for Meat Eaters ,Let me show you how easy it really is to make tasty vegan food that will satisfy even the pickiest meat eaters, so if one day you need to cook for a vegan or decide you’d like to eat less meat and incorporate vegan food in your diet, you’ll know exactly what to do.

  20. Have just read Brenda's review and now yours! Looks fabulous and I love your idea for a cook-along. Funny, I was just at the book store yesterday for a housewarming gift for my daughter. I picked up America Test Kitchen's Family Cookbook... too bad I didn't see Rachel Ray's book! I love all mac and cheese and this recipe sounds like a real addition to the repertoire!

  21. What about the flower? When do I need to put it in? The recepie was delicious!!!


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