Southern Pimiento Mac and Cheese

Undercook the pasta by 1 minute. It will continue to cook in the creamy sauce while the crumb topping toasts under the broiler.

Hands On Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
6 to 8 servings
Southern Pimiento Mac and Cheese
Hector Sanchez


  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

  • 1 qt. milk

  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 pound pasta (such as penne, cavatappi, or rotini)

  • 2 (8-oz.) packages shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 cup grated sweet onion

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 2 (7-oz.) jars diced pimiento, drained

  • 2 (2.52-oz.) packages fully cooked bacon, diced

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


  1. Preheat broiler with oven rack 8 to 9 inches from heat.

  2. Bring 1/4 cup salt and 4 qt. water to a boil in a large covered Dutch oven over high heat.

  3. Meanwhile, microwave milk in a microwave-safe 1-qt. glass measuring cup covered with plastic wrap at HIGH 3 minutes. While milk is heating, melt butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in hot milk. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a low boil, whisking often.

  4. Add pasta to boiling water, and cook 8 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, continue to cook sauce, whisking often, 6 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in cheese, onion, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cover.

  6. Stir together panko and olive oil.

  7. Drain pasta, and fold into cheese sauce. Stir pimiento and bacon into pasta mixture. Sprinkle with panko mixture.

  8. Broil 1 to 2 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Sprinkle with chives; serve immediately.

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