Monday, January 17, 2011

Spicy, Grown-Up Mac & Cheese

  • 1 (14.5oz) pkg. Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne Rigate
  • 3 Tbsp. Smart Balance margarine
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ tsp. ground chipotle chile
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) grated, reduced-fat mild Cheddar
  • 8 oz. Raclette Cheese (Swiss variety), rind removed and cubed
  • ½ cup grated Asiago, plus 1/3 cup
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. Smart Balance margarine (optional)
  • cooking spray

In a large pot bring water to boil. Add pasta and bring to a boil again, cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Overcooking the pasta makes for a tender Mac and Cheese. Ten minutes later preheat oven to 350 degrees and over medium heat melt margarine in a sauce pan, then whisk in flour. Add milk to flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Whisk slowly until mixture thickens. Turn heat off of burner, then add chilpotle chile, cayenne, onion powder, and salt, whisk together well. Add the Cheddar, Raclette, and ½ cup of Asiago. Stir well with a rubber spatula until well blended, cheese does not need to be melted completely, just mixed well. Place in a 2 ½ qt. glass baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
Then stir pasta and cheese mixture together and place in a 2 1/2 qt. glass baking dish sprayed with cooking oil.

You have 2 options for your topping. Option #1: evenly dust top of Mac and Cheese with 1/3 cup Asiago. Option #2: Melt 2 Tbsp. margarine in the microwave. Then to meduim size bowl add panko bread crumbs, 1/3 cup Asigo and the melted margarine, mix well. Dust mixture evenly over top of Mac and Cheese. If you like a crunchy topping on your Mac and Cheese then option #2 is for you. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top and bubbly.

It is up to you as to whether or not you use high fiber pasta, lower fat cheese and a healthy margarine in place of butter. I also used fat free milk and it is absolutely delicious. I like to cut fat and add fiber where I can without sparing flavor. The creaminess of the cheese gives a nice balance to the spices.


  1. I made the recipe with half of it plain and the other half with the crunchy topping.

  2. I like the idea of overcooking the pasta, I bet then it doesn't soak up all the cheese leaving the pasta dry.