Macaroni and Cheese with Jerk Seasoning
Creamy, spicy white cheese sauce with a buttery breadcrumb topping, one of the best macaroni and cheese recipes you will always want to make. This delicious traditional white sauce mac and cheese is spiced with Noubess Jerk Seasoning, Salt-Free. This recipe is the perfect pasta dish with a delicious pork roast or beef roast and a tossed salad.
We can all agree that a good macaroni and cheese recipe is the king of all comfort foods. It is one of the most cooked dishes during the holiday season and anytime during the year. In the Haitian community, a dish of mac and cheese is always on the dinner table. Whether it is for an event or Sunday dinner, pasta is considered the best friend of rice. Who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese?
Now a personal note. This recipe is not called Jerk Mac and Cheese or Jerk Macaroni and Cheese because, in my opinion, it is not an authentic recipe, nor is it a Jamaican recipe. I used dry jerk seasoning to season the pasta. So it is not a jerk-style recipe.
Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica. Meat, poultry, and fish or commonly marinated with jerk spice or seasoning and then grilled or roasted. Sometimes you will also find vegetables, but chicken is traditionally cooked this way in Jamaica.
About this Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Jerk Seasoning recipe
Usually, macaroni and cheese recipes are made with cheddar and parmesan cheese sauce. The sauce for this recipe will take you to another world with the melted mozzarella cheese. It is creamy, velvety, cheesy, and perfectly spiced with Noubess Jerk Seasoning.
The jerk seasoning adds so much flavor that you would want a second plate. I chose the jerk seasoning in powder form because it blends and coats the pasta noodles adding an extra unique flavor.
The difference between Wet Jerk Seasoning and Dry Jerk Seasoning spice.
The difference is simple. One is citrusy, and the other is not. The wet jerk seasoning is pasty, and when mixed with the pasta and the cheese sauce, the herb does not blend and coats the noodles well. It will work if you cook the sauce with wet seasoning, but the taste will not differ. It almost feels like I am seasoning meat and not pasta.
Dry seasonings are best for many recipes. They add tons of aromatic flavors and you can control the amount you are adding to your recipe. For this pasta dish, it works. The pasta and cheesy sauce are baked perfectly in this aromatic seasoning mixture, leaving you with a fantastic tasty comfort dish.
It is like opening your Christmas present all over again. A nice warm bowl of mac and cheese seasoned with a flavorful and aromatic blend of herbs and spices.
The ingredients for the macaroni and cheese with Jerk Seasoning recipe are:
- Elbow macaroni: this type of pasta is the preferred choice for mac and cheese. The noodles hold the cheese sauce perfectly. We like the Barilla Pasta brand. The taste is better than other similar brands, unless you go for freshly made pasta or an expensive gourmet brand. The Barilla brand is my preferred brand for most of my pasta recipes.
- Cheese: mozzarella cheese and asiago cheese blended and melted together. You can also substitute the asiago with a sharp or mild cheddar. For this recipe, I used asiago cheese for its sharpness. I like sharp cheeses in mac and cheese. For the mozzarella cheese, the fresher the better but don’t go crazy. Mozzarella cheese can be quite expensive. If you cannot find fresh mozzarella, choose a good brand, one that melts prefectly and does not create any lumps.
- Flour: only a couple of tablespoons needed to create the roux. All-Pupose flour is fine to use.
- Butter: I prefer unsalted butter to better balance the salt content in the sauce.
- Milk: whole milk, 2% milk or carnation milk diluted with water – these 3 options will work. Although Caribbean people prefer using carnation milk in their mac and cheese. The sauce is creamier in my opinion.
- Panko/seasoned bread crumbs: storebought seasoned panko works well. I usually sprkingle a little bit of paprika on top of the breadcrumbs for more color and a hint of smokiness. Superb!
- Jerk Seasoning: Noubess Jerk Seasoning, Salt-Free is the star of the show. Only 1 teaspoon is needed for 8 ounce of pasta with the cheese sauce. You can add seasoning but you don’t want to endup with hot and spicy baked mac and cheese.
- Fresh Garlic Clove: only one clove is needed. Chopped finely and mixed with the warm pasta and butter. Actually, this could be eaten just like that – as it is so good. This ingredient is optional.
- Spray Butter: always have a bottle on hand. I use this quite often. Instead of adding pieces of butter on top of the macaroni and cheese, I use the spray butter. Less mess and convenient.
How to make the macaroni and cheese with Jerk Seasoning:
To make the pasta dish, first, you want to prepare all your ingredients. As usual, you would boil the pasta first, prepare the sauce, mix everything and then bake in the oven. Yes, that is straightforward to make. But let’s go through the steps.
- Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging. Drain and put the pasta back into the stockpot or large saucepan.
- Add the butter, chopped garlic and jerk seasoning. Mix well and set aside.
- To prepare the sauce: in a large saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour. Whisk together flour and butter constantly until well mixed. Do not burn the mixture. Gradually pour in the warm milk and keep whisking until well blended. Add the mustard and cheese, whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 – 7 minutes or until the mixture is thick but still sliky and smooth.
- Pour the mixture over the drained and cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese (optional) and with breadcrumbs, and bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden on top. Do not cook the pasta longer than 25 minutes or you won’t have any sauce left.
- Serve immediately with salad or meat or chicken.
Tips and Notes
- Use elbow macaroni as it it the traditional pasta for mac and cheese
- Use warm milk to make the sauce instead of cold milk.
- Don’t have mustard powder use regular dijon or yellow mustard.
- Seasoned panko or seasoned breadcrumbs are best to use than regular plain breadcrumbs.
- Sprinkle a little bit of paprika on top of the breadcrumbs for color and to bring out the flavor for the melted cheese and butter.
- Use a butter spray to lighlty spray the top of the macaroni before baking. This will eliminate having to cook the breadcrumbs in butter to make them brown.
- Do not over cook the macaroni and cheese not more than 25 minutes or you will cook away the sauce.
Save this wonderful recipe in your recipe repertoire next time you want to spice up your comfort food.
Other macaroni and cheese recipes you may enjoy
- CHEDDAR BAKED MACARONI AND HAM, A FAVORITE PASTA MEAL
- THE BEST BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE RECIPE
- TRUFFLE MAC AND CHEESE
Macaroni and Cheese with Jerk Seasoning
- Spay Butter
For the Pasta
- ½ pound of macaroni elbow pasta preferably
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 garlic clove chopped finely
- 1 tsp Noubess Jerk Seasoning Salt-Free
For the Sauce
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups warm milk
- 1 tsp mustard dijon, or yellow
- 16 oz fresh mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 cup Asiago cheese grated
For the Topping
- 3 – 4 tbsp breadcrumbs seasoned or plain
- Butter spray or dots of butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
To make the Pasta
- Cook pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt. Add macaroni and cook according to packaging instructions.
- Drain and return pasta to pot, add butter, garlic, and Noubess Jerk Seasoning, Salt-Free, and toss until the butter has melted and all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Set aside and make the sauce.
To make the Sauce
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low to medium heat. Add flour and cook, constantly stirring, for about 1 minute.
- Slowly pour the warm milk a cup at a time and keep whisking until you no longer have any lumps. (use a whisk for best result).
- Add the mustard and mix well.
- Lower the heat and add the cheese, and stir to mix well. The sauce will thicken as soon as you add the cheese.
- Remove from the heat.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir until all the noodles are coated. Pour into a prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and paprika. Either spray the top with spray butter or place a few dots of butter on top of the pasta.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the top is golden.
- Serve immediately with a side salad or with a meat or poultry dish.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.
Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.