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Spicy Southwest Mac ‘n’ Cheese

December 7, 2012

Spicy Southwest Mac n Cheese

Spicy Southwest Mac ‘n’ Cheese

2 cups (1 8-ounce package) elbow macaroni or other curly pasta
1/2 stick butter, divided
1/3 cup unseasoned fine dry breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet (or hot) paprika
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 4-ounce log soft unripened goat cheese
2 cups coarsely shredded Jarlsberg cheese
1 cup shredded Manchego
1/2 pound roasted, spicy sausage, crumbled or chopped
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
1/2 cup drained salad olives (with pimiento)
Sliced avocado and fresh tomato salsa, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°.  Butter a 2-quart round ovenproof casserole dish. Cook pasta without salt until al dente; transfer to colander and drain.  Melt butter in same pasta pot; remove from heat.  Measure off 2 tablespoons butter and, in small bowl, combine with breadcrumbs and paprika.  Set aside.

Return pot to heat.  Blend in flour and simmer until bubbly (1 minute).  Gradually whisk in milk and the three cheeses.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is creamy-smooth and thickens slightly. Add sausage, jalapeno and olives. Return pasta to pot and toss until coated.  Transfer to prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with buttered breadcrumbs.  If desired, sprinkle with additional paprika. Bake 30 minutes or until center is bubbly-hot and crumbs are golden. Garnish with sliced avocado and fresh tomato salsa.  Serves 10 – 12 (as a side).

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