Macaroni with Monterey Jack cheese, Mexican spices, topped with bacon, tangy banana peppers & finished with fresh cilantro.
2 cups elbow macaroni
8 slices thick cut bacon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped, yellow onion
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream-room temp
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, plus more for topping
1/2 cup mild banana pepper rings
6-5 inch mini baking dishes/ramekins
Boil the macaroni in salted water until al dente and drain.
Slightly undercook the bacon in a frying pan over medium temp and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve the bacon fat and wipe out the frying pan.
Place the pan back on the burner and add back two tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat back with 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Add the onions and cook until translucent.
Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking continuously. Whisk in the chicken broth, cream, chili powder, cumin, salt & pepper. Once hot, remove from heat and stir in the Monterey Jack Cheese.
Place cooked macaroni in a large mixing bowl and mix with the sauce. Fill each baking dish and top with extra Monterey Jack cheese. Bake at 350 in center rack for 20 minutes.
Coarsely chop the undercooked bacon and banana pepper rings and add to the frying pan. Cook until bacon is crispy. Remove from heat, add a little chopped cilantro and drizzle with some of the banana pepper vinegar. Spoon over the top of each serving. Serves 6.