So a little while ago I was sent a box of various cheeses to sample from Manwaring Cheese. In addition a challenge was presented… ‘See what awesome recipes you can come with featuring the various cheese flavors”. Now you know me folks, I ♥ a challenge almost as much as I love cheese! When I got home from work there was this glorious box of cheese flavors. It was like ‘Merry Christmas to ME!’ as well, I think I said out loud telling Mr. Fantabulous “oh sorry honey, these are for ‘work’, you can’t have any“. LOL Yeah I know, I’m such a brat! In the box were the following flavors: Lulas Chili Rub, Smoked Chipolte, Dill, Old Faithful, Tuscan Rub and Green Onion. Now I don’t know about you but by this time my mouth was watering. However one in particular caught my eye; the Lulas Chili Rub. I’ve never heard of a cheese like this. Unable to resist temptation I opened that one and sliced off a piece. OHHHHHHHHHH MYYYYYY GOODNESS people! It’s a flavor unlike any I had ever had! It’s like cheese meets chili and they kiss, make a baby and produce this beautiful love child! I was so tempted to slice off another chunk but I resisted and put it away for the recipe.
The next day while at work I couldn’t help stop thinking about that cheese and how I would incorporate it into a recipe. A barrage of ideas went through my head but I kept circling back to Mac ‘n Cheese. Perhaps because it was cold here in the ‘Burgh and comfort foods are a must when it’s that cold out. I didn’t want, however, to make just your every day mac ‘n cheese. I wanted an adult version; one that kids would question you on and adults would beg for the recipe. I’m thinking I’ve created just that.
It’s cheesy and creamy with such a great chili flavor unmatched by anything else I’ve tasted. Now you know me, I just can’t leave well enough alone. I needed to give it something ‘more’. That’s when I opted to add in some of my Chili Smoked Candied Bacon. OH Dear JESUS people! It left me speechless! – yeah, that’s a first, right? This just reeked for Fancy Schmancy to the nth degree!
I HIGHLY recommend you contact our friends at Manwaring Cheese and tell them The Kitchen Whisperer sent you. YOU NEED to order their cheeses! Look for other recipes featuring their amazing cheeses coming up!Print
- 8 ounces Cavatappi noodles
- 6 Tbl butter, unsalted
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/ 2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 cups Manwaring Lulas Chili Rub Cheese
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4–1/2 tsp cayenne *optional
- 8 slices Smoked Chili Candied Bacon, rough cut into 1/2” pieces
- 1/2–3/4 cup
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Add in the Cavatappi noodles.
- When the water begins to boil again, add 1/2 tsp salt.
- Cook until al dente, ~8 minutes.
- Drain but reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- While the noodles are cooking in a medium sauce pan melt 4 Tbl of butter over medium heat.
- When the butter begins to bubble, whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. You want to cook the starch and flour taste off. Do not burn.
- Add in the milk and cream and whisk for 1-2 minutes or until well combined.
- Add in the salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika and cayenne, whisk and reduce to simmer.
- Whisk occasionally until thickened ~6-8 minutes.
- Add in 3 cups of cheese and whisk until smooth.
- If the sauce is too thick add in a little bit of the water until the sauce is at desired consistency.
- Add in 3/4ths of the bacon and whisk to combine.
- Remove from heat and add in the pasta.
- Using 1 Tbl of butter, butter the insides of 6-8 6 ounce ramekins and fill the dishes with the mixture.
- Evenly distribute the Panko breadcrumbs on top of the filling.
- Distribute the remaining cheese on top and take the last Tbl of butter and break it up into small pieces and place on top of the cheese.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the panko is golden brown.
- Garnish with the remaining bacon pieces.