Fired-Up Macaroni & Cheese

We have been making this recipe for years and years. It is such a fun spin on the classic macaroni and cheese dish.

The cayenne and Tabasco fire up the dish and give it so much life! But don’t worry, it doesn’t have too much of a kick. We do not like super spicy, and this dish passes our test. It has a little fire and extra flavor, but not too much.

If you do not like any spice at all, then just leave out the cayenne pepper and Tabasco. But if you love a good kick, then add extra! You really can’t go wrong.

Every once in a while, we like to mix things up and make this dish a little more sophisticated. To do this, we use a past other than macaroni, like a penne. This just makes it seem a little fancier for some reason.

If you would like to mix things up even more, you can leave out the bread crumbs entirely. If you are doing this, top the casserole with more grated Cheddar cheese for a cheesy crust. Either way, you will get a delicious macaroni and cheese with a crisp topping.

One of the best things about this dish is that it can be made ahead! This makes dinner time even easier. Put it all together early in the day when you have the time. Then add the topping and bake just before serving.

So next time you are craving some macaroni and cheese, give this yummy recipe a try. We love to serve it with fresh broccoli and some fruit. The whole family will love this one!

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Fired-Up Macaroni & Cheese

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword comfort

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni or other pasta, such as penne
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter 1/2 stick
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp French salt
  • 1/8-1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese 8 ounces
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Crumb Topping:

  • 2-3 slices white bread
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and greese an 8x8-inch baking dish.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain well.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in amedium saucepan and add flour. Stir with a spoon or whisk until the mixture is bubbly, about 1 minute. Add the milk, cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens. Add the salt, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Stir for 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the Cheddar cheese and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Cook and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted in the pasta. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  • To make the crumb topping, tear the bread into small pieces and pulse in the food processor to make 1 cup crumbs. Mix in the butter and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over pasta mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly and the topping is browned to your liking.
  • Serve woth cooked fresh broccoli seasoned with a little butter, salt, and pepper.

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