real life test kitchen: siracha mac and cheese

On Halloween we hosted a small handful of sugar-loaded kids and their exhausted parents. I wanted to serve something simple, that we could dish out in bowls and eat on the porch while doling out candy to trick-or-treaters. This recipe from Shutterbean fit the bill nicely. After all, mac and cheese is kinda like candy for grown ups. Despite its recent legal troubles in California, Siracha is a hot, of-the-moment, ingredient (pun intended). This Thai hot sauces makes just about everything taste better, from scrambled eggs to roasted sweet potatoes. After trying this recipe I can add one more thing to its plate — spicing up mac and cheese. Plus the bright red drizzle on top seemed to fit the theme of the night — creepy! Below is my take on the recipe from Shutterbean, which was originally adapted from the Mac + Cheese cookbook.

Siracha Mac and Cheese

What You Need:

For the sauce
3 cups milk — I used 1%
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the pasta:

3/4 pound dried elbow pasta
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups grated Havarti
2-3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce, plus more for drizzling
1 bunch chopped green onions (both green and white parts)
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

How To Make:
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a large caserole dish. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente.

2. Heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, but is not boiling, 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

3. . Heat the butter over medium heat in a separate, heavy bottomed pot. When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. . Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly until it gets thick.

5. Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly. Once the sauce is thick enough to stick to the spoon it’s done. Add the salt and stir. Shut off heat.

6. Mash together the ginger and butter in a small bowl until fully combined.

7. Add the cheese and ginger butter to the sauce and cook over medium heat. Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes. Add the siracha and pasta and cook another 5 minutes. Add the green onions and stir to fully combine.

8. Pour the mac into a 14-inch casserole pan and sprinkle with panko. Bake until hot and bubbly and the topping is golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with more sriracha. Spoon into bowls and serve.

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