This is a macaroni and cheese that is super times two. Super fiery and super creamy, habanero mac and cheese will certainly delight those more extreme eaters at your table. It’s bold bite comfort food at its best – a great side for steaks and ribs. You need a big meat to match with this fiery flavor. This mac and cheese is filling enough, too, to be its own meal. Try adding in a little grilled chicken for protein to round things out.
The pepper heat here comes from habanero cheddar cheese, not fresh chilies themselves. You can find it at many grocers with strong gourmet cheese section (or buy it online.) Note, handling habanero cheese is a cakewalk compared to handling fresh habaneros. Still take care, chilies at this level can lead to one wicked chili burn, no matter the form. And alert your guests before serving. Habanero mac and cheese looks very unassuming on the plate.
If habanero mac and cheese is a little too strong, take a look at some of our other macaroni and cheese recipes that sit well down on the pepper scale. For instance, this jalapeño popper version is a lot less spicy and sure to delight most everyone in the family. Or, if you’re a Sriracha fan, take a look at this one.
- 3 cups cellentani pasta or macaroni
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded and packed
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup habanero cheddar cheese or habanero jack cheese, shredded and packed
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup butter 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the tablespoon of melted butter and Panko breadcrumbs. Stir well.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente (follow package time). Drain the pasta and place it back in the pot.
- Over medium heat, add the 1/4 cup butter. Melt the butter.
- Add the chili powder, salt, black pepper, and flour to the butter. Stir well.
- Add the milk and half and half to the butter mix. Turn the heat to medium high and stir well until the mix lightly boils. Lower the heat and continue stirring until the butter mix thickens.
- Remove the butter mix from the heat, then add in the sharp cheddar and habanero cheddar (or habanero jack) cheeses. Stir often until the cheeses are fully melted.
- Lightly butter (or oil) the bottom and sides of a baking pan.
- Pour the cheese mix over the cellentani (or macaroni), then pour it into the baking pan. Top with the Panko breadcrumbs.
- Bake the mac and cheese for 20 minutes, or until the cheese turns a nice golden brown.