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Jarred pimentos and some spice give Rach's foolproof mac & cheese base a Southern spin.

Check out Rach's other easy ways to change up her basic mac & cheese base:
Green Chile Bacon Mac & Cheese
Garlic Bread Mac & Cheese


For the Pimento Mac & Cheese Base With Cauliflower:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cups sharp yellow cheddar, shredded
  • 1 ½ cups yellow American cheese, shredded
  • White pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion, divided
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup hot sauce (Rach's go-to is Frank’s RedHot)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Four 4-ounce jars pimentos, drained
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • 12 ounces pasta (Rach likes to use ziti) , cooked to al dente
  • 3 cups cauliflower, chopped and blanched
For the topping:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 sleeve crackers, crushed
  • ½ cup parsley, stemmed and chopped
  • ¼ cup chives or scallions, finely chopped


Serves: 6 to 8


Preheat oven to 375˚F

For the basic mac and cheese base, add the butter to a high-sided or deep skillet. Once the butter melts, add the flour and whisk one minute to make a roux. Whisk the milk into the roux. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in cheeses and stir until combined. Mix in white pepper, dry mustard, granulated onion and cayenne pepper. For this pimiento cheese variation, also stir in hot sauce, sweet paprika, smoked paprika, granulated onion, granulated garlic, Worcestershire, pimientos and yellow mustard. Toss with pasta and cauliflower and add to a casserole dish. 

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small pot over medium heat. Once melted, toss with crushed crackers, parsley and chives.

Top with the cracker mixture and bake until bubbly and brown on top, about 15 minutes.