Pimiento Mac and Cheese

Cover Recipe- Bon Appetit, Pimiento Mac and Cheese: March 2011

Cover Recipe- Bon Appetit, Pimiento Mac and Cheese: March 2011

When it comes to mac and cheese, you’re either a blue box person or you’re not.  And, well, I am not.  I grew up on the homemade stuff and once you spend your entire childhood eating a cheese sauce that is made from actual melted cheese and not some kind of strangely fluorescent powder, you just can’t ever go back.

You can understand, then, why I took it as a personal challenge to sway my boyfriend’s blue box-loving heart when he informed me (on Valentine’s Day, mind you) that he preferred the “just add hot water” version to mine. For. Shame.

It was then and there that I vowed to leave no mac and cheese recipe unturned until I found the one that would change his mind.  Recently, I was going through my old cooking magazines when I rediscovered the March 2011 issue of Bon Appetit, with a Pimiento Mac and Cheese on it’s cover that they claimed was “hands down the tastiest version [they’ve] ever made”. My heart immediately started racing as I thought, “Could this really be the one?” Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.

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Print Print Recipe

Pimiento Mac and Cheese

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 25 min

Ingredients:

1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, halved, divided
1/2 cup panko
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 cup drained mild Peppadew peppers in brine, 1 tablespoon brine reserved
1/4 teaspoon ground ancho chiles
1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup (packed) coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella
8 ounces medium shell pasta or gemelli

Directions:

1. Bring 1/2 cup water, bell pepper, and 1 1/2 garlic cloves to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until pepper is soft, about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, toast the panko in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden, stirring often, 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool until lukewarm. Rub 1 tablespoon butter into the crumbs to coat. Mix in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
3. Transfer the bell pepper to a food processor. Add the Peppadews and 1 tablespoon brine, 2 tablespoons butter, ground chiles, and 1/2 garlic clove. Add the cheddar and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Blend until sauce is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Butter a 8-cup baking dish. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until tender but still al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Stir the sauce and mozzarella into the pasta. Season with salt and pepper and pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the panko/parmesan topping.
5. Bake the pasta until the topping is crisp and sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Tips:

*Peppadew peppers can usually be found in jars or in the deli section at some supermarkets, at specialty food stores, and from peppadew.com.
*Look for panko at supermarkets and at Asian markets.
*I use ancho chili powder in place of the ground chiles, but I think you could use any chili powder that you have on hand.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1/6th pan
Calories per serving: 519.7
Fat per serving: 29.6g
Saturated Fat per serving: 16.8
Sugar per serving: 1.5g
Sodium per serving: 639.5mg
Fiber per serving: 2.6g
Protein per serving: 26.1g
Cholesterol per serving: 87.8mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 34.7g

The results:

I’m not sure I’ve convinced my boyfriend to never eat instant mac and cheese again but we both really did love this dish and he even went as far as to say it was one of the best things I’ve ever made, which is pretty high praise. It was very cheesy but somehow didn’t seem very heavy, possibly because the spicy sweet flavor of the pimiento cut some of that richness. That being said, while it was very good and hit all those comfort food notes, I’m not sure that this is exactly what I’d want if I was really craving a classic mac and cheese. The pimiento added great flavor, but it strayed a bit too far out-of-the-box to replace the version that I grew up with.  If you’re looking for a new and a little bit “out there” take on a classic dish, however, this would be a great one to try.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Definitely yes! Mac and cheese is always an attention grabber and this version lives up to expectations and does a terrific job of turning comfort food into something a little more unique.

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.


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23 Responses to “Lime & Blackberry Italian Meringue Pie”

  1. 1

    Tieghan — August 5, 2013 @ 8:01 am

    Wow, that meringue looks perfect!! This whole pie looks perfect. Just wow!

  2. 2

    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — August 5, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

    I have this issue of BA and always wanted to make the pie! It looks gorgeous!

  3. 3

    Joanne Eats Well With Others | Lime & Blackberry Italian Meringue Pie — August 6, 2013 @ 5:46 am

    […] If you’re looking for a pie that will make you stop dead in your tracks, jaw agape, and just say “WOW”. Then this is it. Check out my post about it over at Culinary Covers! […]

  4. 4

    Candice — August 6, 2013 @ 7:06 am

    Why isn’t it always blackberry season? I’ve never seen a pie like this but I can just imagine someone bringing it out after dinner and my heart bursting.

  5. 5

    Dawn — August 6, 2013 @ 7:26 am

    In the recipe for the blackberry wine reduction… it reads a fruity red wine… Would that be like a sangria??? I just don’t want to start this pie and reduce down a wine that may give off the wrong flavor… I ask only because we are adding more sugar and the blackberries on top of the reduced fruity red wine…I realize that this is a sweet component to counteract the tart lime curd. thank you

    • Joanne Bruno replied: — August 6th, 2013 @ 7:29 am

      Hi Dawn! I used a cabernet sauvignon but a shiraz might be nice also! I wouldn’t use sangria itself because it does have added sugar.

  6. 6

    sandra — August 6, 2013 @ 7:29 am

    Fabulous treat. And so inspiring.

  7. 7

    Dawn — August 6, 2013 @ 7:45 am

    Thank you so much. I thought sangria may be too sweet, but because it was being used in a sweet application – it kinda thru me. I agree Shiraz would be nice with the blackberries. Thank you for clearing that up. The fruity description kinda implies a sweeter wine – to me. Love your blog. I read it all the time

  8. 8

    Dan from Platter Talk — August 6, 2013 @ 8:21 am

    What a knockout dessert/treat t his is! It’s always good to find more recipes that use blackberries, especially this time of year – it’s their time to shine! Great post!

  9. 9

    Lynn — August 6, 2013 @ 10:01 am

    I wish I could snap my fingers and a slice of that would magically appear. It looks delicious.

  10. 10

    Faith — August 6, 2013 @ 10:21 am

    I am so happy you made this! I’ve been dying to ever since I saw it a couple years ago! It’s absolutely gorgeous…and some things (especially desserts ;) ) are definitely worth the extra work. This is a real show-stopper!

  11. 11

    Zainab @ Blahnik Baker — August 6, 2013 @ 10:26 am

    This is STUNNING!!

  12. 12

    Lindsey Johnson — August 6, 2013 @ 11:51 am

    I’ve had this bookmarked since then too! Looks fabulous, Joanne! I just need to go pick some fresh blackberries. They’re finally in season where I live.

  13. 13

    Jennifer | Bake or Break — August 6, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

    This is absolutely gorgeous!

  14. 14

    Ashley — August 6, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

    This is definitely one gorgeous pie – good to know it’s worth the effort!

  15. 15

    Anne ~ Uni Homemaker — August 6, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

    That is beautiful Joanne. Everything about this screams perfection! Well done!

  16. 16

    Beth — August 6, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

    Truly inspiring, Joanne. It does sound like a lot of work … but what a labour of love.

  17. 17

    debbie — August 6, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

    This is definitely a stop in your tracks kind of pie. One of the most delicious looking that I have ever seen!!! Just fabulous Joanne!!!

  18. 18

    Tracey — August 6, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

    Serious, such a gorgeous pie, Joanne!! The combination of flavors sounds heavenly, and definitely a fabulous reward for a day spent in the kitchen :)

  19. 19

    Suzie — August 6, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

    This sounds amazing Joanne!!

  20. 20

    gloria — August 7, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    this is to di for !! Love bon appetit too, I haven’t this issue:(
    love this Joanne!

  21. 21

    Karen — August 7, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

    My mouth is puckering just thinking about this pie. Beautiful!

  22. 22

    Betty — August 7, 2013 @ 10:43 pm

    Picking blackberries tomorrow! Don’t know if I’ll have time to make this masterpiece or not, but I sure do want to. :)

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