Penne and Pimento Cheese from ZestuousBack in March 2011, I tried the cover recipe of bon appétit. I love macaroni and cheese, and they promoted their recipe for Pimiento Mac and Cheese as “hands down the tastiest version” they’ve ever made. It was a little challenging to find some of the ingredients, specifically the ancho chile powder and Peppadew peppers. I bought a bag of dried ancho chiles and a coffee grinder to make the chile powder. Quite an expense for ¼ teaspoon of seasoning, but I wanted to make their exact recipe. The spice is quite tasty, so the rest didn’t go to waste…although I have enough dried peppers to last the rest of my life. The Peppadews are little red peppers that resemble cherries. You can find them in the olive bar at your grocery.

Penne and Pimento Cheese from ZestuousThe recipe was flavorful (pictured above with butter poached chicken). It didn’t taste like traditional yellow macaroni and cheese, but the sharp cheddar cheese mixed with the flavorful peppers was very nice. My only complaint is that it wasn’t as cheesy as the cover photo. In fact, it was pretty dry, but I might have baked it too long. I also thought the panko topping could have used more butter.

Penne and Pimento Cheese from ZestuousI had never thought of using pimento cheese in macaroni, until I saw the bon appétit recipe. So back on March 2011, I decided to create my own version of Mac-n-Pimento Cheese, mimicking my earlier posted Pimento Cheese recipe. I thought it turned out very well. It was nice and creamy, and I liked the Ritz topping better than the panko.I kept that recipe at the bottom of this post for those who want to try my original version.

Penne and Pimento Cheese from ZestuousNow, more than a year later, I feel like I’ve come to master mac-n-cheese even better. I recently posted a recipe for  a basic cheddar super creamy mac. That recipe inspired me to re-evaluate this recipe. I used whole wheat flour and whole wheat penne, and cut back on some of the ingredients. I also chose not to bake it, so it would maintain it’s uber-creaminess. Enjoy.

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Penne and Pimento Cheese


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated pepperjack cheese
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
  • ½ tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 small jar chopped pimentos, drained
  • 4 cups cooked whole wheat penne noodles


  • Melt the butter in a saucepot over medium heat. Add the flour. Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the milk and increase heat to medium-high. Whisk until it begins to thicken.
  • Add the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and pepperjack cheese and stir until melted.
  • Stir in the seasoning, mustard and pimentos. Add in the cooked penne noodles and serve.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Christie Vanover

About Zestuous

Hi. I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and have dozens of top ten category finishes. People know me as the girl who is forever hovering over a grill, smoker or campfire with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

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