The Washington Post

Roasted Red Pepper Mac n Cheese

Roasted Red Pepper Mac n Cheese 10.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Nov 6, 2018

Mac and cheese graces many holiday tables; this one is special enough to earn an annual berth.

The CapMac food truck brings this goodness to the streets of the District.

To read the accompanying story, see: Start your own Thanksgiving traditions with these simple twists on classic recipes.

Make Ahead: The dish can be made up to 3 days in advance, minus the Cheez-Its. Reheat on the stove top, covered, over low heat.

10 - 12

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 10-12 servings

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound dried elbow macaroni
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 6 cups warmed milk (in a microwave for a few minutes)
  • 24 ounces white cheddar, shredded
  • 3 jarred, roasted red peppers, drained and pureed (use a blender or mini food processor)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika (sweet or hot)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed Cheez-Its, for garnish


Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt and the macaroni; cook to al dente (a little underdone), according to the package directions. Drain well, then return to the pot.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour; whisk constantly for a few minutes to form a smooth paste (roux). Increase the heat to medium-high; gradually add the warmed milk while you continue to whisk, forming a smooth sauce. Cook for a total of 3 to 5 minutes, then add the shredded cheddar in two or three additions, allowing the batches to melt each time.

Add the pureed red peppers, mustard, smoked paprika, and a pinch of black pepper, stirring to incorporate. The sauce should be a deep orange color; taste, and add salt, as needed.

Pour the sauce into the macaroni, stirring to coat evenly. Cook over low heat for a few minutes, to meld the flavors and warm the pasta through.

To serve, transfer to a warmed serving dish and top with the crushed Cheez-Its.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Great Food Finds Washington D.C.: Delicious Food From the Nation’s Capital,” by Beth Kantor (Globe Pequot Press, 2018).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 12): 530

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 30g 46%

Saturated Fat: 19g 95%

Cholesterol: 95mg 32%

Sodium: 530mg 22%

Total Carbohydrates: 43g 14%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 8g

Protein: 23g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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