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Pepper Confetti Macaroni and Cheese

Updated February 23, 2016
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Cookbook

Bold & Healthy Flavors

Published by Black Dog & Leventhal

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Diced red, green, and yellow bell peppers give this macaroni the festive look of confetti. The flavor of the vegetables enables you to reduce the amount of cheese.

Serves6

Cooking Methodbaking, sauteeing

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 2 hours

OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course, side dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecheesy, rich

Type of Dishbaked pasta, pasta

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces macaroni or rigatoni
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 1 green bell pepper (or 2 ancho chilies for a little more spice)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 1 to 1½ cups crumbled feta cheese (or other strong-flavored cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash cayenne pepper and freshly grated nutmeg
  • Vegetable spray oil
  • ½ cup toasted bread crumbs

Instructions

Bring 4 quarts of lightly salted water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Cook the macaroni until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the macaroni in a colander, rinse with cold water to cool, and drain well. Preheat the oven to 400°.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan, preferably nonstick. Add the onion, garlic, and peppers and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft and aromatic, but not brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the skim milk and bring to a boil, stirring steadily. Simmer the sauce until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the cheese, dill, mustard, salt and pepper, and cayenne and nutmeg to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.

Stir the macaroni into the sauce. Spoon the mixture into an attractive 8- by 12-inch baking dish you’ve lightly sprayed with oil. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs. Bake the macaroni and cheese until bubbling, crusty, and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

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