Baked 3-Cheese Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese with a LAY'S® Poppables™ Creamy Jalapeño Topping
- 1-pound dried cavatappi pasta (or another short pasta)
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 fresh jalapeños, deseeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups half-and-half
- 5 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup Colby Jack, Monterrey Jack, our Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 cups LAY'S® Poppables™ Creamy Jalapeño Flavored Potato Snacks
How to make it:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add butter to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and jalapeño and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
- While the vegetables cook, add the pasta to a pot of boiling water and cook according to package instructions until just shy of al dente.
- To the saucepan, stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add in half-and-half, whisking until all flour lumps are gone. Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened.
- Add in cubed cream cheese and stir until melted. Add in most of the shredded Jack, cheddar, and mozzarella cheese, reserving some for the topping. Stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy; if the sauce is too thick, add a splash of half-and-half or milk as needed. Add in salt, pepper, and cayenne and stir.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and add in the drained pasta and most of the crumbled bacon, stirring until well combined. Transfer the pasta mixture to a greased casserole dish or large cast iron skillet.
- For the crunchy topping, crush 2 cups LAY'S® Poppables™ Creamy Jalapeño Flavored Potato Snacks to a coarse texture and combine with 3 tbsp melted butter.
- Top the pasta with remaining cheese, bacon, and the LAY'S® Poppables™ Creamy Jalapeño crumble. Bake 20-25 minutes until the topping is golden brown. Optional: top with sliced fresh jalapeño. Serve, and enjoy!
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