Cajun Mac and Cheese- Jazzin it up with J9 (Guest Post)

Hi, My name is Janine and I am Shari’s older (wiser, J/K) sister. Shari has allowed me to post on her blog once a week and share my preparation, thoughts and alterations on a pinterest recipe.  Basically, once a week I will take a recipe from pinterest.  I will create it at home, take pictures, and document my thoughts about it.  I hope that you enjoy these recipes and try them out yourself!  To see this pin and follow me on Pinterest click here:
Week 1:  Cajun Mac and Cheese from Food Network:
Kosher salt
12 ounces wagon-wheel pasta (I used a Costco organic brand called Gemelli)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces andouille sausage, diced
2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper (red or green), chopped (I used some red and some orange)
1 tablespoon Cajun spice blend
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk (I used 1% milk)
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
Here’s what you do:
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1 minute less than the label directs. ImageReserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.Meanwhile, combine the olive oil and sausage in a large skillet over high heat and cook, stirring, until the sausage starts to brown, about 2 minutes. ImageStir in the scallions and bell pepper and cook until the vegetables are slightly soft, about 3 more minutes. This is really important because you don’t want your veggies to be mushy.  Image
Add the Cajun spice and flour and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue whisking until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 5 more minutes.ImageAdd the pasta, cheese and reserved cooking water to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, tossing to coat the pasta in the sauce and melt the cheese.  I stirred it around for about 5 minutes or so on simmer.  Then I let it sit for a couple of minutes off heat. I think this really let the sauce thicken.
A couple of things to consider:
I do think that you could use less than 12 ounces of pasta and or increase the amount of sausage and peppers.
Also, I would have added maybe a half of teaspoon more of cajun spice.  I think it could have been more “cajun-y”.
Finally, I really enjoyed it with Sriracha Hot Sauce but my husband thought it was good with Valentino Hot Sauce.  .

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