Pasta smothered in a cheese blend with a very distinctive twist….chilli’s and ginger. Sounds a bit strange, right? It is. But it works, and it works really well (I’m drooling just thinking about it). This exotic chilli ginger macaroni and cheese originated with my mother-in-law. Let’s just start with the facts, there is absolutely nothing healthy about this dish. Sometimes a decadent, overly indulgent and guilt-free meal is what makes life worth all the crap we have to put up with. My advice? Earn this meal by doing a tough workout. Trust me, the rewards will be worth it. Your taste buds will thank me later…enjoy!
- Flavor: The great comforting familiarity of creamy, luscious mac & cheese. The high notes from the ginger and subtle heat from the chilli play palette tricks on your mind and it’s really hard to stop eating it.
- Texture: Ooey gooey cheesiness. I like to cook the pasta al dente to give it bit more texture & chew.
Expertise and time required: Easy. 1 Hour.
Serving Size: 4-6
Ingredients: You will need a large dutch oven or large casserole baking dish.
- 1 box of dry pasta (macaroni, rotini, penne or shells all work well)
- 2 large red onions finely diced
- 1 inch piece of ginger peeled and grated (tip: use a spoon to peel the ginger)
- 5 chillies finely chopped (you can use fresh jalapeños, green Thai chillies, red chillies or any peppers that have a nice heat profile, just avoid peppers that have very distinct flavors and can overpower the dish like habaneros or scotch bonnets)
- 1 small can of tomato sauce, approximately 5 oz
- 16 oz high quality mozzarella cheese (shredded or cut into pieces)
- 10 oz high quality medium-sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1 can cream of celery soup (Campbell’s works fine)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1 green onion finely chopped (optional)
- 1 Tsp turmeric (optional)
Step 1: Brown the Onions
In a large deep pot, under medium heat, add the butter and the onions. Stir until the onions turn opaque. Then add the chillies and ginger. Continue to fry for a minute and add the red chilli flakes (if you like it really spicy). Continue to fry and stir the mixture until the onions become golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Cook the Pasta and Add the Canned Goods
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the pasta in seasoned water (salted water) until al dente or a bit on the underdone side, drain and set aside.
Add the tomato sauce to the onion/chilli mixture and cook until bubbling (watch the heat so you don’t burn it). Add the can of cream of celery soup and stir until everything is blended well. Add the turmeric for color (optional). Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat.
Step 3: Add the Cheese and Bake
Scoop half the pasta mixture into a large casserole dish and evenly spread half of the different cheeses on top. Scoop the remaining pasta over the cheese layer and add the remaining cheeses on top. Cover the dish and let bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and mix the pasta well to distribute the melted cheese. Sprinkle some chopped green onion on top (optional). Serve hot.
To enjoying cheese and carbs and not worrying about your waistline,
Party Smart. Sweat Smarter.