Hard Rock Cafe Twisted Mac & Cheese is cavatappi pasta tossed in a slightly spicy cheese sauce with roasted red peppers and topped with Parmesan parsley breadcrumbs. A copycat version of a favorite restaurant dish!
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HARD ROCK CAFE TWISTED MAC & CHEESE
I have only been to Hard Rock Cafe a handful of times – Detroit doesn’t even have one anymore – but this Twisted Mac & Cheese was what I liked to order.
Because there aren’t any around, I needed to find a copycat recipe to make it at home.
TWISTED MAC & CHEESE INGREDIENTS
- Cavatappi Pasta
- Velveeta Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese
- Monterey Jack Cheese
- Cayenne Pepper
- Black Pepper
- Roasted Red Pepper
- Italian Bread Crumbs
- Parmesan Cheese
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE VELVEETA CHEESE?
If you live in an area that doesn’t sell Velveeta cheese (which is a processed cheese product – it melts really evenly and adds to the creaminess), you can replace it with cubed cream cheese.
Normally I don’t like recipes that call for Velveeta but it is really good in this mac & cheese.
Very cheesy with a little kick from the cayenne pepper and I love breadcrumb topping.
You’ll melt all the cheeses together to get a really smooth, creamy, cheese sauce.
If you don’t like a little kick, skip the cayenne pepper, but it adds a nice contrast.
Tips for making this copycat Twisted Mac & Cheese a success:
- To roast the red bell pepper, you can either take it out to the grill, like I did, or if you’re not grilling, set it directly over the flame of a gas stove set to medium heat. Turn the pepper as the skin blisters and chars black. Place the pepper in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. After a few minutes you can easily remove the skin.
- If you have an electric stove (like I now do…or it’s winter & your grill is put away), you can use your broiler. Rub the bell pepper with olive oil and salt, roast for 10 minutes under the broiler, then peel and dice.
- You can also use a jar of roasted red bell peppers.
- If you’re an area that doesn’t sell Velveeta (or you just don’t like it), you could skip it, but it adds to the creaminess. To replace it, I would up the cheddar cheese and throw in some cubed cream cheese.
- If you can’t find twisted cavatappi noodles, no worries, use whatever kind of pasta you like.
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Hard Rock Cafe Twisted Mac & Cheese
- 1 lb cavatappi pasta
- 2/3 cup milk plus a splash more
- 8 oz Velveeta cheese cubed
- 1 1/4 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup roasted bell pepper diced
- 4 teaspoon Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 4 teaspoon Parmesan cheese grated
- 1/4 teaspoon parsley finely minced
- In a large saucepan, bring salted water to boil to cook your cavatappi. Once cooked, drain the pasta and set aside.
- To the same saucepan, add the milk, Velveeta, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, cayenne pepper and black pepper and heat over low for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
- Add in the cooked pasta and roasted pepper to the pan, and then toss to coat the pasta.
- To a small bowl, add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and parsley and toss to combine.
- Pour your pasta into a serving bowl and then sprinkle Parmesan breadcrumbs over the top.