Sweet Potato (Yam) & Jalapeno Macaroni & Cheese


FROM - DelightfulDeliciousDelovely.com

Sweet Potato & Jalapeno Macaroni and Cheese

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES

INGREDIENTS

26 cloves garlic

3 large Yams (or sweet potatoes) peeled & cut into 1/4 inch disks

6 TBS olive oil

1.5 lbs pasta (I used half corkscrew & half some kinda tubey pasta)

10 TBS butter

12 TBS flour

8 cups whole milk

6 cups shredded cheese (use a blend of mozzarella and/or cheddar and/or Italian or Mexican blend cheeses)

6 TBS chopped fresh rosemary

14 jalapenos - seeded & diced (food processor is handy here) - chop even more than 14 if you want to garnish the finished mac & cheese with fresh, uncooked peppers.

S&P to taste

BREAD CRUMB MIXTURE - optional

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

4 TBS olive oil


DIRECTIONS

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES

In a large pot - boil the sliced yams & 20 (reserving 6) garlic cloves until the yams have softened.  Maybe 5 minutes.  Remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon & re-use the hot water to boil your pasta (according to package directions).  Cook the pasta maybe one minute less than the package says to assure it is al dente.  Drain & set aside.

Once cool enough to handle (put the yams & garlic under cold running water to cool) - put the 20 cloves of garlic through a garlic press (or chop or mash another way) & set aside.

Dice the boiled yams.  Heat the olive oil in a large pan & saute the diced yams until they begin to caramelize.  This could take up to ten minutes.

Melt the butter - over low heat - in a large sauce pan & then add the flour.  Whisk until it is incorporated.  Up the flame to medium & gradually whisk in 6 cups of the milk (reserving 2 cups for later).   Stir constantly until all the milk is incorporated & it begins to thicken a but.  It should be like unset pudding.  Thicker than that & mixing in the cheese will get difficult.  

Mince the remaining 6 cloves of garlic.  Add both forms of garlic, most of the jalapeno (reserving a good handful for a topping later), the yams, rosemary, cheeses (reserving a fat handful for topping later) and pasta.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.

Grease either a very large 7 quart casserole - or several smaller ones - and carefully transfer HALF the mixture into the cooking pans.   Pour one cup of the reserved milk over the mac & cheese in the pan(s) & then top with the remainder of the mac & cheese.  Pour the rest of the milk on top of this.  Top with the remaining cheese & jalapenos (reserving some - if you chose to - to add raw at the end as a garnish).  

This can be topped with a bread crumb mixture - though I opted not to.  To make the bread crumb mixture - just whisk the crumbs, olive oil & cheese together & sprinkle on top of the macaroni.

Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes - or until bubbly (golden - if using bread crumbs).  Let this sit a good ten minutes before serving.



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