This recipe is featured in our April 2017 Food + Entertaining article, Season’s Bounty. Peachy hit the “foodie town” of Birmingham for a culinary tour with renowned Southern chefs Frank Stitt and John Lasater and came away with a few must-try recipes for your spring entertaining.
Hattie B’s Pimento Mac and CheeseCourse: Sides
- For the sauce:
1⁄2 gallon milk (2 quarts)
1 1⁄2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 1⁄2 tablespoons salt
1 1⁄2 teaspoons black pepper
- For the roux:
2 sticks (1⁄2 pound) butter
1⁄2 pound all-purpose flour
- To finish the sauce:
1 1⁄2 pounds plus additional 1 cup (to top the mac at the end) shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese (the sharper the better for pimento cheese)
10 ounce jar diced pimentos, undrained
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, diced
- To prepare pasta:
1 pound elbow macaroni (uncooked)
- To prepare the sauce:**
- Combine all of these ingredients in a 4–5 quart stockpot and bring to a simmer. Do not boil or it may cause the milk to scorch!
- To prepare the roux:
- In a small saucepot (1 quart), melt all of the butter completely. Once butter is melted, add the flour all at once and whisk to combine the ingredients into a smooth mixture.
- Simmer roux for 5 minutes to make sure all of the raw flour is cooked out. Once
- it has simmered for 5 minutes, add all of the roux into the simmering milk mixture. Make sure the milk mixture is at a simmer so the roux makes an immediate bond. Whisk very well until the sauce becomes thick. Simmer mixture for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
- To finish the sauce:
- Add the diced pimentos along with 1 1⁄2 pounds of cheese and butter. Melt these ingredients completely and turn flame off at this point and give it a really good whisk until melted.
- Cool sauce completely in a storage container.
- To prepare the pasta:
- Cook in salted boiling water until al dente (about 7 to 8 minutes for most pasta). Strain when finished.
- Next, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cooled cheese sauce in a mixing bowl along with the pasta (pasta doesn’t need to be cooled). Mix until completely combined. Scrape the mixture out of the bowl with a rubber spatula into a 10 x 12 baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Once the timer goes off, remove mac and give the whole pan a good stir with the rubber spatula, smoothing everything out.
- Next, top with 1 cup of shredded cheese. Place the mac back in the oven, uncovered, for no more than 5 minutes—just to brown the cheese. Serve family-style!
- Recipe by Chef John Lasater, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken