Over Thanksgiving, Kara, Cliff, Winnie and I went to Nashville. Our first road trip!! We will have a post about our adventure soon, but we couldn’t wait any longer to recreate one of our favorite dishes from Nashville right at home.
First of all…I just want to say that I loved Nashville. L-O-V-E-D it. Like I could totally picture myself living there if it weren’t for my family, friends, home and job being in Chicago. Details. But honestly, I think I was meant to live in the south. Maybe in my next life??
But anyways, we had some ridiculously good food while we were there and the Pimiento Macaroni and Cheese stuck with me more than anything else. During a 4 day vacation I think we ordered Pimiento Macaroni and Cheese 3 times…so you know we liked it!
It was the first Nashville inspired dish we created when we got home and our homemade version did not disappoint whatsoever. The mac & cheese was creamy and totally cheesy. In a good way though. The hot sauce gave it a kick, but just a subtle one. And the star ingredient was the pimientos. Pimentos aren’t really a popular ingredient in Chicago (at least in my opinion), but we have cooked with them here and there. I’m no expert…but to me they taste like a sweet pepper. They added a distinct flavor to the mac & cheese and I completely fell in love.
We used a small penne noodle and it worked out perfectly fine. However, next time I make this I will use an even smaller noodle…elbow, wagon wheel, shell…I’m not really sure yet. But there will be a next time and I will be sure to tell you about our future experiments with Pimiento Mac & Cheese.
- 3½ cups water
- 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk, divided
- 12 ounces pasta (we used small penne, but any small pasta will work)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- couple dashes hot sauce
- 2½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons pimientos, finely diced
- Bring water, 1 cup of evaporated milk, pasta, and salt to a simmer in a large skillet over high heat. Simmer, stirring often, until the noodles are tender and the liquid has thickened, 9 to 12 minutes.
- Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk, cornstarch and hot sauce together in a small bowl, then stir into the skillet. Continue to simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cheeses, 1 handful at a time. You can gradually add water, if needed, to adjust the consistency of the sauce. Stir in the butter and diced pimientos, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.