Recipe: Pimento Cheese Mac & Cheese
Two of our favorite southern delicacies collide in this easy stovetop method for mac & cheese. Tip: Make a double batch of the pimento cheese so you can put half in the fridge and enjoy it with crackers, on sandwiches, or simply by the spoonful. It's that good!
For pimento cheese:
- 1 (4 oz.) jar diced pimentos
- 8 oz. mild cheddar cheese, shredded*
- 2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Buffalo Bleu Dip & Dressing Mix
- 1/2 tsp. Salt & Pepper Tableside Seasoning
For mac & cheese:
- 8 oz. small macaroni pasta (like ditalini noodles, conchiglie shells, or elbow macaroni)*
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp. flour*
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Salt & Pepper Tableside Seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. Onion & Garlic Tableside Sprinkle
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp. Smoked Spanish Sweet Paprika
- 2 tsp. olive oil
*Mild cheddar melts better than sharp cheddar in the mac & cheese; if you want to enjoy the pimento cheese on its own with crackers and such, use a sharp cheddar cheese instead. For a gluten-free version of this recipe, use an all-purpose, gluten-free flour mix, gluten-free pasta noodles, and gluten-free bread crumbs.
For pimento cheese: Mix all ingredients together and set aside.
For mac & cheese: Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat milk over medium heat in a small saucepan until barely at a boil. In a large, ovenproof saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk flour into melted butter and cook, whisking constantly, for about 2 min. Slowly whisk hot milk into flour mixture and cook for about 5 min., stirring constantly, until sauce begins to thicken. Remove sauce from heat and stir in reserved pimento cheese, lemon juice, and the salt & pepper and onion & garlic seasonings. Fold in cooked pasta and serve, or following optional topping directions before serving.
For optional topping: In a small bowl, stir together panko, paprika, and olive oil. Sprinkle seasoned bread crumbs over mac & cheese. Set pan under a broiler for 2 to 3 min. until bread crumbs start to toast. Serve immediately.