So the other day a friend of mine gave me some jalapeño-cheddar venison sausage which was totally amazing, even though I am not a hot pepper kind of girl in the least, and part of that sausage resulted in this jalapeño popper inspired pasta dish the very next day which got rave reviews from the fam, especially a certain little five year old boy. And what I like about this, aside from cheesy, gooey pasta with crispy bread crumbs obviously, is that it’s not super hot and spicy if you remove the seeds from the peppers. But, on the other hand, you can make it hotter by leaving then in. So you have options if you are not a wimp like me.
And that corkscrew pasta? How fun is that pasta?
Read my notes below for some tips on how to make it.
PS. A gazillion Blogvault restores later and my menu bar, social icons and background are still not back. Frustrated beyond words. No emails have been answered. Googling like crazy. Hours of my life have been wasted trying to find out how to fix these issues. So, yes, I know that my blog looks wonky. I’m working on it.
PPS. It’s going to be 99 today. Which is actually going to feel like 130 or something. Yay.
–You could use pork or beef smoked sausage if you don’t have venison sausage. Don’t panic.
–Make sure that cream cheese is really room temperature or it clumps.
–I definitely remove seeds and ribs from all my jalapeños, always. This removes most of the heat. But you can leave them in if you’d like. I’m not the boss of you.
- 1 package (16-ounces) cavatappi (corkscrews) dried pasta
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1½ cups half and half
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1½ pounds smoked jalapeño and cheddar venison sausage, chopped into bite size pieces
- 4 medium to large jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped (leave seeds for more heat, if desired)
- Butter for coating baking dish
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 1¼ cups panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions. Immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
- In a Dutch oven, melt ¼ cup butter over medium to high heat; add flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and half and half; continue to cook over medium to high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the salt, pepper, and the shredded Monterey and cheddar cheese, until melted. Stir in the cream cheese until melted and smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in the pasta, sausage, and the chopped jalapeño peppers. Transfer to a buttered 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
- Stir together ¼ cup melted butter and the panko crumbs. Sprinkle evenly on top of the pasta. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top and bubbly around edges. 8-10 servings.