How to make Southern Cajun mac and cheese

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If Southern Cajun mac and cheese isn’t already in your recipe box, you’re in for a treat. Think: everything you love about feel-good, Southern mac and cheese, plus just enough protein, spice, and color to make it feel like a complete meal.
This can also be the perfect side dish to bring to a potluck or serve at any dinner party where you’re hoping to turn casual acquaintances into life-long friends. Just be prepared to hear “Oh, and could you bring that mac and cheese thing?” tacked onto every invitation you get – for a while.
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Cooktop Cove
Southern Cajun Mac and Cheese
6
15 minutes
70 minutes
85 minutes
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup cottage cheese
1 teaspoon Cajun spice
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon each: salt and pepper
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 pound smoked cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 pound Monterey jack cheese, grated
1/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 pound elbow pasta, uncooked
1/3 pound andouille sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1 tablespoon Cajun spice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F and place the baking rack in the second-highest slot.
Use one tablespoon of butter to thoroughly grease a large baking dish or casserole.
In a large bowl, combine all of the grated cheeses. Set aside 1/3 cup for the crust.
Whisk (or use a blender or food processor) to combine the cottage cheese, teaspoon of Cajun spice, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously (or adding a bit at a time and then blending) to keep the mixture smooth.
Add the milk mixture and uncooked pasta to the remaining grated cheese and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the greased pan, cover with foil (sealing the edges as tightly as possible) and place in the oven.
Bake for 45 minutes, stirring once after 30.
While the pasta is baking, chop the bell peppers into quarter-inch strips, and chop those strips in half.
Add the olive oil to a pan and place on a medium-high heat.
Cook the sausage in the olive oil, tablespoon of Cajun spice, garlic powder and onion powder, smooshing and chopping with a wooden spoon as you go, until it starts to brown all over.
Add the peppers and cook until they just begin to soften, about three minutes. Remove from heat
Remove the pasta from the oven. Also remove the baking rack and reposition it in the highest slot. Increase the heat to 400 degrees F.
Uncover the pan, add the sausage mixture and stir everything together.
Sprinkle the dish with the remaining grated cheese and return to the oven.
Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crust is perfectly brown and crisp.
Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
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