Pimento Mac and Cheese

By America’s Test Kitchen | November 1st, 2023

Two favorite foods in one easy-to-make dish


Pimento Mac and Cheese, from America's Test Kitchen

Ready for a new take on mac and cheese? We’ve done all the work, so all you have to do is follow this easy recipe for Pimento Mac and Cheese.

Folding store-bought pimento cheese into our usual macaroni and cheese recipe didn’t work well here; the sauce separated into pools of grease and clumps of cheese. Instead, we made a flavored béchamel, a thickened milk sauce, to help us control the amount of fat in the sauce and prevent the sauce from breaking.

Adding the cheese and cream cheese right to the sauce before adding the macaroni allowed us to bake the casserole less, therefore reducing the risk of a broken sauce.

Happy cooking!

Pimento Mac and Cheese

Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (4 cups)
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 (4-ounce) jars pimentos, drained, patted dry, and minced

Directions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a Dutch oven. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt and cook for 5 minutes. Drain macaroni; set aside.
  2. Add butter to the now-empty pot and melt over medium-high heat. Stir in flour, mustard, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until mixture is fragrant and bubbling, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in milk and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes, whisking frequently.
  3. Remove pot from heat. Add 3 cups cheddar, the cream cheese, 2 ounces cream cheese, 2 tablespoons hot sauce and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce to the sauce and whisk until the cheese is melted. Add pimentos and macaroni and stir until macaroni is thoroughly coated in sauce. Transfer to a 13-by 9-inch baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheddar. Bake until the edges are lightly browned and the filling is bubbling, 18 to 20 minutes. Let rest for 20 minutes. Serve.

To make ahead: The fully assembled casserole can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, remove plastic and bake until heated through, 40 to 45 minutes.


Four recipes for pimento cheese plus oodles of other Southern breakfast and brunch delights in “Biscuit Head: New Southern Biscuits, Breakfasts, and Brunch.” Read Boomer’s review and sample two recipes, including S’mores Bacon!


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©2023 America’s Test Kitchen. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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