Pimento cheese is one of my favorite things ever. While I would (probably) never eat an entire one-pound block of cheese in one sitting, I’d have no problem downing a pound or more of pimento cheese. When it comes to this Southern classic, I have no off button. For today’s episode of Fun with Pimento Cheese, I’ve taken some premium house-made pimento cheese from my client, The Butcher’s Market, and turned it into this pretty darn amazing one pot pimento cheese pasta.
I first saw someone use ready-made pimento cheese in a macaroni and cheese recipe when my friend Fran made this deliciousness. Hers is roux-based, but I figured since there is oil in the pimento cheese already (in the form of mayonnaise), I could just stir a bit of flour into the pimento cheese and then melt the whole thing into the pot of nearly-drained pasta to simplify matters. Reserving some of the water not only gives the cheese something to melt into, but it provides additional starch to make the sauce incredibly creamy and smooth.
The first time I tried this was with homemade pimento cheese and fettuccine. It was spectacularly good, but it was also really rich because I’d used a bunch of mayonnaise in my pimento cheese. Once I saw the lovely, thick texture of the pimento cheese from The Butcher’s Market, I knew it would be perfect for round 2. And I was correct. Super cheesy and just rich enough. Seriously tasty. Dangerously so. And only one pot!
One Pot Pimento Cheese Pasta
For my one pot pimento cheese pasta, I used 6 oz each of The Butcher’s Market’s Jalapeno pimento cheese and Bacon pimento cheese. If you live in the Raleigh/Cary area, please go grab some. It is excellent. If you are not in the area, use any excellent quality ready made pimento cheese or your own homemade pimento cheese. One caveat: make sure that it is relatively light on the mayo. Most mass-produced pimento cheese is fairly loose and will list mayo or oil as the first or second ingredient. Make sure that the mayonnaise is fairly low on the ingredient list just to make sure your pimento cheese pasta isn’t too rich–too much oil, and the sauce will break, too.
Also, note that you can use more or less pimento cheese in your pasta (or conversely, more or less pasta with your pimento cheese) depending on how gooey you like your macaroni and cheese to be and keeping in mind the pasta will suck up some of the sauce, especially if you have to refrigerate leftovers.
Before we make this deliciousness, here are my recommendations for some equipment that will make your life easier when making pimento cheese and/or a pasta dish. As always, I appreciate your supporting PCO by shopping through my affiliate links.
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If you’re going to make your own pimento cheese, you’ll want something to help you shred your cheese. This can be as simple as a box grater, or you can get a mandoline or even a food processor with a shredding disc. I also like to have a nice large strainer for my pasta. This model that has expanding handles fits over the sink so I don’t need to call The Beloved to help me hold it.
Okay. Now we’re set. Let’s make some one pot pimento cheese pasta, friends.
This one pot pimento cheese pasta is the easiest, creamiest and quite possibly the tastiest macaroni and cheese you will ever make. But that can be our little secret. Enjoy!
- 1 pound short pasta shape of your choice (I used cavatappi)
- 1 1/2 cups prepared or homemade pimento cheese, light on the mayo (I used half Bacon pimento cheese and half jalapeno pimento cheese from The Butcher's Market)
- 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 cup pasta cooking water
- salt and pepper if needed
- 4-5 slices thick cut bacon cooked crisp and crumbled
- a few rings pickled jalapenos
- a few pieces roasted red pepper chopped
Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions. Cook to the shorter time indicated.
Mix the flour into the pimento cheese until you can't see any flour.
When the pasta is done, reserve one cup of the liquid and drain out the rest of the water.
Put the reserved liquid and the pimento cheese mixture in the pan. Stir together over high heat until the pimento cheese has mostly melted.
Add the pasta back in and stir well to coat the pasta evenly and melt the cheese completely.
Taste and add some salt and pepper if necessary.
Garnish as desired, using my suggestions or doing your own thing, and serve hot.
If you want a sauce that's a bit looser, use 2 cups of pimento cheese, 1 1/4 cup cooking water, and 1 rounded tablespoon of flour and proceed as above.
See how easy this is to make? I can assure you it is every bit as easy to eat as it is to make. I hope you enjoy this sneakily easy one pot pimento cheese pasta. I’m pretty sure your kiddos who love to cook would love to make this pasta, too, so let them help.
And that’s it for now. Thanks for spending some time with me today.
Take care, and have a lovely day.