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Author Notes: I'm a relatively lazy cook, so am always looking for shortcuts without compromising flavor. This recipe came about when a group of friends decided to make "comfort food" for the Super Bowl last year. It seems most mac 'n cheese recipes call for using every pot and bowl in the kitchen. I managed to scale it down to a few. A nice, easy, addition to this dish is commercially roasted chicken. Shred the chicken and add it to the macaroni before pouring it into the prepared baking dish. To make chipotle puree, put a small can chipotle chiles in adobo in the food processor and puree to a paste. Store in the refrigerator in a glass jar topped with a thin film of flavorless oil. —epicureanodyssey
- 4 1/2 cups elbow macaroni (18 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon chipotle puree
- 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, grated
- 3 14-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles, preferably Muir Glen
- 3/4 cup sliced green onions, white and green parts
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Cook and drain the macaroni as directed on the box. Return to the saucepan, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375º F. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk, mustard, chipotle puree, smoked paprika and salt just before the boiling point. Reduce the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour the sauce over the macaroni. Stir in the tomatoes and onions. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
- In a small bowl, stir together the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and smoked paprika. Add the olive oil and stir to combine. Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni mixture.
- Bake 25 minutes or until the edges are bubbly and the top is golden. Serve hot.
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