Spicy Mac and Cheese Soup

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Spicy Mac and Cheese Soup

3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese
1 pound penne pasta, cooked and drained
Vegetable oil for spraying baking dish
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a large saute pan and add the onion, garlic, cumin and coriander. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Mix in the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Using a wire whisk, slowly incorporate the milk into the onion mixture until the flour and milk are blended. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the jalapeño pepper, cayenne pepper, salt and tomatoes with their juice. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mozzarella, Cheddar and Swiss cheeses, blending until well mixed.

Combine the sauce and cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl. Place the sauced pasta in a 9- by 9-inch greased baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the Parmesan topping over the pasta.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the crumb topping is golden brown.

Makes 6 servings.

Approximate values per serving: 608 calories, 21 g fat, 59 mg cholesterol, 25 g protein, 80 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 1,078 mg sodium, 31 percent calories from fat.

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