Contributor Jay B. calls this a classic mac and cheese with a fiery twist! Don't be scared off by the intensity of the Extreme Habanero Radiatore; as Jay says, this dish has "good solid heat from the pasta with enough dairy that non-chiliheads can enjoy it." We tried it for ourselves and were pleasantly surprised by how well balanced the flavors were. If you're not feeling up the extreme heat, our Southwest Blend would work just fine. Thanks so much for the recipe, Jay!
8 oz. Pappardelle's Extreme Habanero Radiatore
8 oz. bacon, cut into 1/2 in. pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 c. flour
2 c. whole milk, warmed
20 oz. block white cheddar, shredded
12 oz. block gruyere, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Put a pot of salted water on to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Reserve 1-2 c. pasta water and drain the rest.
3. In a deep sided saucepan, cook bacon until crispy. Reserve the drippings and add enough butter to make 4 tablespoons.
4. Whisk in flour and stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, adding a pinch of nutmeg, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer until thickened, whisking occasionally. Remove bay leaf and stir in all of the gruyere and all but 1/2 c. of cheddar. Stir in pasta and enough pasta water to make a sauce.
5. Pour into a buttered 2 qt dish; top with remaining cheddar and bake 15 minutes or until top is lightly browned.