This is a family (and friend) favorite at the Bui-Kanady household, thanks to the brilliant addition of crispy fried Vietnamese shallots. The creamy roux sauce surprises with a smoky punch of heat from the sriracha.
Adapted from The Sriracha Cookbook by Randy Clemens
- If using dried hành phi, heat 1 cup neutral oil in a skillet or saucepan. When the oil is hot enough that a shallot sizzles, add 1/2 cup of dried shallots and stir to coat. As soon as all of the shallots are coated in oil, immediately pour the shallots through a strainer, over a bowl, to remove the oil. The oil can be reserved for another use.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the bread crumbs, stirring gently. Turn off the heat, allow the bread crumbs to absorb the butter, and reserve.
- In a large stockpot, bring 2 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the macaroni noodles and stir. Cook until the noodles are just slightly undercooked, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain the noodles and reserve.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to sweat, about 3-5 minutes.
- Whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup of the milk while whisking. Once the milk has been absorbed by the flour and thickened slightly, add the remainder of the milk, followed by the cream.
- Add the salt, dried mustard, pepper, and nutmeg. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the sriracha. Gradually add most of the cheddar (reserving some for the topping) while slowly whisking, one handful at a time.
- Once all the cheese has melted, toss in the cooked macaroni, coating the noodles with the cheese sauce. Transfer the noodles and sauce to the baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover with the buttered bread crumbs.
- Bake, uncovered, 18 to 22 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Remove the mac and cheese from the oven, then sprinkle the top with the fried shallots. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.