Recipe courtesy of Jurnee Smollett-Bell

Smoked Cheddar and Creole Mac and Cheese

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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Ingredients

Kosher salt

1 pound medium macaroni shells 

2 tablespoons olive oil 

2 cups panko breadcrumbs 

5 tablespoons unsalted butter 

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

2 cups whole milk 

2 tablespoons Jake's Creole Seasoning or store-bought creole spice blend

2 tablespoons dried dill 

1 large egg, beaten 

2 cups shredded smoked Cheddar 

2 cups shredded Monterey jack 

2 cups shredded pepper jack 

Directions

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the panko and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, toasting until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
  3. In a separate large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk vigorously to combine, being careful not to burn the mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring the bechamel to a simmer, and cook to thicken, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the Creole seasoning and dill.
  4. Place the egg in a medium bowl. Remove 1/3 cup of the bechamel sauce and whisk it into the egg to temper. Then add the egg-bechamel mixture back into the pot and whisk to combine. Gradually add the smoked Cheddar, Monterey jack and pepper jack, whisking to maintain a smooth texture and avoid clumping. Stir in the cooked pasta.
  5. Spoon the warm mac and cheese into a serving bowl. Top with the panko breadcrumbs.

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