Pimento Mac 'n Cheese
Relish Chef Anne Cornell
This recipe was the winner at Thumbprint Cellars' Winter Wineland 2014 "Mac Off". It's a creamy Mac 'n Cheese with a wonderful tangy-ness that works well with a rich white or red wine.
1/4 cup butter plus more fore buttering casserole dish
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups half-and-half
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 pkgs cream cheese, softened (16 oz total)
1 jar jar diced pimientos, drained (4 oz)
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound small penne pasta or macaroni, cooked, drained and kept warm
6 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9x9-inch casserole dish.
In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook one more minute until fragrant.
Add the flour, whisking continuously for 2-3 minutes until flour is cooked, but not brown. Whisk in the half-and-half and cook until the mixture is thickened and smooth, whisking constantly.
Add the ground red pepper and worcestershire sauce. Stir in the cream cheese and let melt. Add the pimentos and season with the salt. Add 4 cups of the cheddar and combine until melted.
Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Top with the remaining 2 cups cheddar. Bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.