Note: A word to the wise: add additional milk if necessary to achieve a creamy, slightly loose consistency, since the noodles have a tendency to suck up the sauce.
About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.
- Yield:Serves 6
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:1 hour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
- 2 jalapeños, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 habanero, seeded and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 pound pasta, such as campanelle or elbow macaroni, cooked al dente according to package directions and drained
- 2 andouille sausage links, grilled and finely chopped
- 8 ounces cold-pack cheddar pub cheese
- 3/4 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
- 3/4 to 1 cup milk
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.
Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add onion, jalapenos, and habanero. Stir and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic. Sauté for another 2 minutes, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add cooked pasta and cooked andouille sausage, along with the cold-pack cheddar, shredded cheddar cheese and milk. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spray 6 individual ramekins or a 13” x 9” baking pan with cooking spray. Combine breadcrumbs, melted butter, garlic salt and onion powder in a small bowl. Fill ramekins or baking pan with pasta. Evenly distribute topping on mac and cheese and transfer to oven to bake, about 15 minutes for individual crocks or 30 minutes for a tray, until topping is browned and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven let rest for 5 minutes before serving.