Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well; place in a large bowl.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add to pasta.
Add flour to pan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add cheeses, stirring until cheeses melt and mixture is smooth. Stir in jalapeño and salt. Add cheese mixture to pasta, tossing well to coat. Stir in green onions. Spoon pasta mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Place bread slices in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure about 1 cup. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Combine butter and breadcrumbs in a small bowl; toss until blended. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over pasta mixture. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until browned.
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This is a very, very good mac and cheese, and it made a lot! I used about 3/4 whole wheat rigatoni and 1/4 regular ziti and a grated Italian cheese blend in place of fontina. That gave some color and size variety that was pleasant. I also made about 1/4 of the peppers jalapeno, added some garlic, and used panko on top. And I prefer half as much cornstarch for thickening instead of flour. Easy to mix up ahead of time, then bake right before eating. I'm sure this would also halve easily or double. UPDATE: made this again tonight with tri-color ziti, both orange and red bell peppers (with about 1/4 cup fresh jalapenos), and added lemon pepper to the bread crumbs: even better, with the tomato and spinach-colored pastas adding a great visual appeal.
This was a great recipe. My husband actually made it (I was running late), so that's proof that it's easy and quick. He followed the recipe but added a yellow pepper to the dish. He just used a mix of cheeses we had on hand- cheddar, parmesan, and colby. The jalapeno added a great kick to it.
I felt this was a good basic low fat pasta recipe. The jalapeno pepper added what I felt was a much needed heat to the dish to give it some pizzaz. I made the recipe as is; however, I took another reviewers suggestion to saute' the green onion as well. Maybe if I left them raw before baking, they would have added a bit more bite to the dish. While good, I'm not sure I would crave this enough to make again.
Made this for this year's Progressive Dinner. Everyone enjoyed it. I made a few slight changes...instead of the Fontina Cheese I used the Shredded Mexican Cheese; I used a whole red bell pepper; 1/4 of a jalapeno pepper as this was my first time cooking with one; and cornbread stuffing (in the bag) instead of the white bread crumbles.
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