Pepper Mac & Cheese

Yield: 8 servings


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 lb. rotini
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 cherry bomb peppers, diced
  • 3 shishito peppers, diced
  • 1/3 cup diced yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled, divided


  1. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the breadcrumbs and sautee until browned.  Remove from the heat.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente.
  3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Add the peppers & onion and sautee for two minutes.  Add the garlic and sautee for an additional minute, until fragrant.
  4. Add the flour to the saucepan and stir to combine.  Pour in the cream & milk, and whisk until the flour clumps are gone.  Cook for a few minutes to thicken.
  5. Add the cream cheese and stir until it's melted into the sauce.  Add in 3 cups of the mozzarella and all of the cheddar.  Continue stirring until fully melted.  Stir in the salt, black pepper, and cumin.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rotini with the cheese sauce and 2/3 of the crumbled bacon.  Transfer to a large greased casserole dish.  Top with the remaining mozzarella, bacon, and panko crumbs.
  7. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.
Adapted from The Chunky Chef.