Chipotle cheddar macaroni & cheese

Mac & cheese has always been my favorite food. I remember feeling so empowered when I was little, whenever my mom would let me take the reins and stir the powdered cheese sauce into the perfectly cooked Kraft noodles. Yes, it’s pretty easy to make boxed mac & cheese, but when you’re young, cooking anything alone is an accomplishment.

I’ve upped my cooking game a bit since I was seven. Now, I’ve mastered making my own cheese sauce from scratch (I won’t lie—I’m still always ready and willing to scarf down a bowl of Kraft), and I’ve been experimenting more and more with what I put in it.

This chipotle cheddar mac & cheese is one of my all-time favorites. Believe it or not, I actually placed first in a mac & cheese competition with this recipe—yup, I really did enter a mac & cheese competition. Anyway, I use chipotles in adobo sauce, but if you have a homemade chipotle sauce recipe you want to throw in instead, please do! I used penne for this recipe, but feel free to use whatever pasta you’d like. The kitchen is all about channeling creativity.

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Makes 3-4 servings
Ingredients:

  • 3 cups uncooked pasta
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoon cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar (I use Cracker Barrel Aged Reserve White Cheddar)
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, finely chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package instructions. In a small pot, melt the butter, on low heat then add the cream and up the just a bit. Add the cream cheese and whisk until it melts. Then, whisk in the flour. Add the cheddar cheese, and let it fully melt, whisking occasionally. If sauce is too thick, add more heavy cream and stir to combine. Add in chipotle peppers and combine. Pour over cooked macaroni, season with salt & pepper and serve immediately.

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