Recipe for Tinhorn Flats Jalapeño Mac and Cheese Brulee
Makes 6-8 servings
1 pound penne pasta
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
½ cup jalapeño water, reserved from boiling
5 cups 2% or whole milk
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ tablespoons pickled jalapeño chilies, minced; or 1 to 2 tablespoons of chipotle in adobo
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups (about 8 ounces) extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
½ cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package directions (approximately 7 minutes), until it's very al dente. (It will cook more in the oven, so you want to make sure that it doesn't become mushy!) Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
Bring three cups of water to boil in a medium pot. Add the chopped jalapeño pepper and cook over a low boil for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the boiling water.
While pasta is cooking, gradually heat milk in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat, stirring frequently so the milk doesn't scorch.
As the milk is warming, heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the garlic and onion, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the garlic doesn't burn.
When the garlic and onions are tender and lightly browned, but note burned, add the pickled jalapeños, black pepper, cumin, cayenne, and flour stirring to coat. Cook for 30 seconds over low heat, stirring frequently. Mix in the warm milk. Add the jalapeño water as needed to thin out the sauce.
Place pasta in a large oven-proof baking dish. Pour the milk/jalapeño mixture over the top. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove dish from the oven, sprinkle panko bread crumbs over pasta, place back into the oven until the crust is golden-brown, approximately 10-15 additional minutes. Serve immediately.
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