SPICY MAC AND CHEESE
(c) Kemberlee Shortland, 2021
I originally saw this recipe listed as Turkish Mac and Cheese, but upon doing a little research, I discovered it was also called Indian Mac and Cheese, Pakistani Mac and Cheese, and simply just Spicy Mac and Cheese, which is what I've called this recipe.
As I learned with researching the Tavče Gravče recipe, ingredients and flavors can change with not just the region, but also within a family. Some recipes include making a flour roux during the course of cooking, some don't use the chili but opt for paprika, and some even add ginger.
I believe my version is a good basic recipe and one which you can use to create your own preferred flavor. And you'll see at the end of the post, I've suggested some ways you can adapt this recipe to create slightly new flavors.
As always, if you try this recipe, or any of my others, drop me an email and let me know what you thought, and how you added to it to make your own version of Spicy Turkish Indian Mac and Cheese.
! This recipe serves two hungry hippos, our four if served with side dishes such as salad.
!! This recipe can easily be doubled or further increased as desired.
1 cup of dry pasta - any will do, but I used macaroni here
*reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water for later
Olive oil or other cooking oil, as needed
2 cloves of garlic - minced
1 small onion - finely chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar - used to balance the flavors (optional)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy or double cream
1 stock cube - vegetarian or chicken flavored - crumbled
1/2 cup cheddar
1/2 cup mozzarella
1 Tbsp butter
First, put on the pasta to boil. Pasta times vary, but take this time to prepare your onion and garlic.
When the pasta is al dente (done cooking but still with some firmness), drain and set aside. *Be sure to save your 1/2 cup of pasta water for later.
Into a hot skillet, add some cooking oil. When warm, add the garlic and onion and sauté until translucent.
Add the tomato paste and mix well. Cook the tomato paste for a few minutes which will enrich the tomatoey flavor.
Add your dry spices to a bowl and mix well before adding to the tomato, garlic and onion mixture in the pan. Mix well.
Now add your pasta water and mix well to smooth out the spicy tomato paste.
Next, add in your milk and cream. When that's well-blended, add in your crumbled stock cube and mix well.
Add in your cooked pasta and stir well to be sure all the pasta is coated.
Add both cheeses and the butter and stir well.
Once the cheese is melted and everything is hot through, it's time to plate up.
Serve with a side salad, garlic bread, or just a big spoon.
Customize ingredients to your taste
If you don't like a very cheesy mac and cheese, use 1/4 cup each of mozzarella and cheddar. If you like it more cheese, add more cheese to taste.
This dish is a warming dish, meaning you will have a warm spice feeling as you eat. If you want a hotter dish, add in a 1/4 tsp of cayenne or 1/2 tsp Tapatio or Sriracha sauce.
This dish is easily adapted to have more of an Italian flavor by adding 1 tsp of oregano vs 1/2 tsp, and add 1/4-1/2 cup of Ketchup.
For something a little fancier, add the finished meal into a baking dish and add a layer of cheese to the top and put into a preheated 350F oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and with a golden brown color.