How to make Southern pimento mac and cheese

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When is comfort food not comfort food? Answer: When it’s impossibly complicated to cook. So, the next time you want a delicious mac and cheese that doesn’t taste like it came out of a box but doesn’t cost so much that it might as well have come from a restaurant, here’s your answer: Southern pimento mac and cheese.
The pimento, dried mustard and paprika add some kick, color and interest to this dish, with the added benefit of (most likely) already existing in your pantry. That, plus the hands-off style of this baked mac and cheese, makes this one of the easiest dishes to throw together on a busy evening. There's no waiting for the pot to boil (watched or otherwise); all you have to do is 15 minutes of prep and add some cheese halfway through. And be prepared to accept all the compliments, of course.
Cooktop Cove
Southern pimento mac and cheese
15 minutes
70 minutes
85 minutes
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup cottage cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 cups whole milk
1/2 pound Monterey jack cheese, grated
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 pound elbow pasta, uncooked
1 (4 ounce) jar pimentos, drained
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place the rack in the second-highest slot.
Use the butter to thoroughly grease a large baking dish or casserole.
In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the cottage cheese, paprika, dried mustard, salt and pepper.
Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously to keep the mixture smooth.
Drain and dice the pimentos.
In a large bowl, combine all of the grated cheeses. Set aside 1/3 cup for the crust.
Add the milk mixture, pimentos and uncooked pasta to the remaining grated cheese and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, cover with foil (sealing the edges as tightly as possible) and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil from the pasta, stir the mixture and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese.
Bake, uncovered, for 30 more minutes, or until the crust is perfectly browned.
Allow the mac and cheese to cool on a heat-proof surface for at least 10 minutes before serving.
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