Cajun Style Macaroni and Cheese
by Sara Marshalek
(Raritan, NJ, USA)
Kickin' It Cajun Style Macaroni & Cheese
Servings: 8 - 10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
I love macaroni & cheese. It's one of my favorite comfort foods. Any time I go to a new restaurant, I will check to see if they have a unique or different mac & cheese on the menu and I must try it. I've tried all kinds of creamy, cheesy goodness from classic boxed Kraft Mac 'n Cheese to some gourmet recipes made with meats, fancy cheese blends, veggies, or wines in them.
In all my years of sampling, one chef at a restaurant in North Jersey really got my attention with his Southern Mac & Cheese. I was so in love with it, I tried many times to recreate the dish and ended up adding my own touches. When my family couldn't stop eating this one, oooh-ing & aaaah-ing over every bite, I knew I finally had the perfect recipe. I've been making it for them for a few years now & they still can't get enough. So here it is - Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Cajun Style Macaroni & Cheese
16 ounces Cavatappi (hollow corkscrew) pasta, prepared
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
2 andouille sausage links, precooked, quartered lengthwise & diced
1/2 cup diced cubanelle pepper
1/2 cup canned petite diced tomatoes
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
16 ounces freshly grated white cheddar
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Cajun spice blend
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (your preference)
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat oil. Add onion, chicken, & peppers. Saute until chicken is cooked through & vegetables are soft. Add sausage & diced tomatoes, heat through. Set mixture aside in a covered bowl to rest.
3. Melt butter in same saucepan. Stir in flour to create roux. Cook 2 – 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk. Bring just to a boil, stirring frequently, to thicken then remove from heat.
4. Add cheddar, tomato sauce, Cajun spice, cayenne, chili powder, salt & pepper to taste. Stir well until cheese is melted.
5. Stir in chicken mixture & cooked pasta to the cheese sauce.
6. Pour into a greased 9” x 13” pan. Bake 15 – 20 minutes until bubbly.