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spicyranchmacandcheese

Spicy Ranch Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni cooked
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 jalapenos seeded,  and diced
  • 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 oz cream cheese (cut into cubes)
  • 2 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 4 cups sharp shredded cheese
  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 12 oz bacon (cooked and crumbled)

Topping

  • 1 ½ cups panko crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter (melted)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1//4 tsp smoked paprika 

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside. Combine shredded cheeses in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Cook the pasta one minute shy of al dente according to the package instructions. Remove from heat, drain, and place in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle pasta with olive oil and stir to coat pasta. Set aside to cool while preparing cheese sauce.
  • Melt butter in a deep saucepan, dutch oven, or stock pot. Add diced jalapeños and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Whisk in flour over medium heat and continue whisking for about 1 minute until bubbly and golden.
  • Gradually whisk in the milk and heavy cream until nice and smooth. Continue whisking until you see bubbles on the surface and then continue cooking and whisking for another 2 minutes.
  • Whisk in cream cheese and TABASCO® sauce.
  • Add two cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth. Add another one and a half cups of shredded cheese and continue whisking until creamy and smooth. Sauce should be nice and thick.
  • Stir in the cooled pasta until combined and pasta is fully coated with the cheese sauce.
  • Pour half of the mac and cheese into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese, two-thirds of the bacon and then the remaining mac and cheese.
  • In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle over the top and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. 
  • Top with remaining bacon and slices of jalapeños if desired. Serve immediately.