Despite the unseasonably warm weather, fall is here and with it comes football and entertaining. If you’re like us, we love to have friends over to watch the games on Thursday night or Sunday afternoon, and of course that means having easy, but delicious, party food at the ready.
What I love about this simple crowd-pleaser is that it’s an elevated version of the kid-friendly dish. By simply adding jalapeños, bacon, and gourmet cheese, you have yourself a substantial party dish to serve at your next Sunday Funday. The best part? You can whip it together during halftime, without missing the game!
Executive Chef Shane Henderson from Bar Deco walked us through one of his go-to recipes. Tips from the busy (not to mention hot) kitchen: cook the pasta ahead of time and let cool. Then, as picture below divide your ingredients into steps, for a fool-proof way to layer them in.
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. olive or canola oil
- 1 tbsp. chopped shallots
- 1 tbsp. de-seeded, chopped jalapeno
- 1 strip cooked, crumbled apple smoked bacon
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup cheese sauce – make your own with cream, cheddar, gouda, paprika and cayenne, or substitute with Velveeta
- 1 1/2 cups cooked large macaroni (hint: run under cold water after it’s 3/4 of the way cooked for the perfect batch)
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp. breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Add butter and oil to medium/large pan with stove on high, once heated add shallots and jalapeno
- Let cook 2 minutes, mix and add bacon and cream, mix again and add cheese sauce
- When cheese sauce is melted, mix thoroughly and toss in cooked macaroni
- Let cook for 2 more minutes, mixing regularly
- Pour into a cast iron skillet, ramekin or other oven-safe container, top with shredded cheddar and breadcrumbs
- Finish in oven for 1-2 minutes, until cheese is just melted and breadcrumbs begin to brown (note: finishing in the oven is optional)
- Remove from the oven and enjoy!
Serves: 1, easily multiplied to feed a crowd!