Cajun Mac and Cheese

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This creamy macaroni and cheese has a nice kick thanks to andouille sausage, pepper Jack cheese, and Cajun seasoning. For milder palates, substitute Monterey Jack cheese and use smoked sausage instead of andouille. However you choose to make it, this easy recipe serves a crowd and will be devoured by everyone around the table.

Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Yield:
Serves 8 (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Ingredients

  • 4 quarts water

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 (16-oz.) package large elbow pasta

  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil

  • 1/2 (16-oz.) package andouille sausage, chopped

  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 small onion)

  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (from 1 small bell pepper)

  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper (from 1 small bell pepper)

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 medium garlic clove)

  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz.) salted butter

  • 6 tablespoons (about 1 1/2-oz.) all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups whole milk

  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (such as Slap Ya Mama)

  • 1 (8-oz.) block medium Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

  • 1 (8-oz.) block pepper Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring water and 2 teaspoons of the salt to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Add pasta; cook 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high; add sausage, onion, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until sausage has begun to brown and onion and peppers are tender, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Transfer sausage mixture to a plate; wipe skillet clean.

  3. Melt butter in skillet over medium-low; whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium, and cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture thickens slightly and comes to a simmer, 14 to 16 minutes. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes. Whisk in Cajun seasoning and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; whisk in cheeses until smooth, and remove from heat. Gently stir in cooked pasta and sausage mixture.

  4. Transfer to preheated oven with oven rack 4 to 6 inches from heat. Bake until golden and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil; broil until top is browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Cajun Mac and Cheese
    Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Kay E. Clarke; Food Stylist: Margaret Monroe Dickey
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