Mexican Mac & Cheese

Tidbits: There are probably more varieties of Mac & Cheese than anyone could count, so why not add another to the list? The inspiration comes from Scott’s love for Mexican and Italian food. So I took a basic mac and cheese recipe and Mexified it.

  1. To unmexify this (which is what I do for Thanksgiving) take out the chili powder, poblano and red pepper, and mexican cream. Do everything else the same. If you do unmexify this, I definitely recommend adding broccoli to the recipe. Cook the broccoli florets with the pasta during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
  2. You don’t have to use the cheeses listed. If you prefer a different combo, have at it.
  3. For a healthier option, you can use whole wheat pasta and milk and cheeses with a lower fat content (and nix the cream). Note that the sauce will be a bit thinner with low fat milk.

Ingredients:

1 lb macaroni elbows or corkscrew pasta

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 poblano pepper, chopped (make sure you get the ribs and seeds out if you don’t want a lot of heat)

1 red pepper, chopped

3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp chili powder

2 cups whole milk

1/8 cup Mexican cream (this ingredient is not necessary if you can’t find it/don’t have it)

1 cup vegetable broth

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded

1/4 cup bread crumbs (these are also not necessary, but always yummy)

Salt & Pepper (freshly ground, not that shaker stuff!)

Directions:

  1. Mentally prepare yourself for multi-tasking. There’s a lot going on at once, but it’s ok if things finish early/late . It’s all getting mixed together at the end.
  2. Cook pasta as directed (but check the Tips & Tricks page for some advice on this)
  3. In the mean time, heat large saute pan over medium heat and add oil.  Chop the onion (fairly small pieces), poblano pepper, red pepper, and  garlic, then cook in this pan for ~ 5 minutes. Add a few dashes of the seasonings that you are going to use later for a little more flavor.
  4. Heat medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  5. Now for the roux (which will thicken your sauce, so this is important!).  Add butter to the sauce pan and melt. Then add the flour, cayenne pepper, paprika, and chili powder. Whisk until roux bubbles and cook for about a minute.
  6. Whisk milk, broth, and Mexican cream into the roux raise the stove to high heat until it’s boiling. Watch closely because the milk will boil fast and wildly! Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  7. Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt.
  8. Combine drained pasta, cheese,  veggies and plenty of salt & pepper in a 9×13 pan (use a non-stick pan or cooking spray for easy cleaning)
  9. You could eat this now if you’re really hungry! Or…move on to step 10.
  10. Sprinkle some bread crumbs on top and bake at 350º for about 15-20 minutes.
  1. Mentally prepare yourself for multi-tasking. There’s a lot going on at once, but it’s ok if things finish early/late . It’s all getting mixed together at the end.
  2. Cook pasta as directed (but check the Tips & Tricks page for some advice on this)
  3. In the mean time, heat large saute pan over medium heat and add oil.  Chop the onion (fairly small pieces), poblano pepper, red pepper, and  garlic, then cook in this pan for ~ 5 minutes. Add a few dashes of the seasonings that you are going to use later for a little more flavor.
  4. Heat medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  5. Now for the roux (which will thicken your sauce, so this is important!).  Add butter to the sauce pan and melt. Then add the flour, cayenne pepper, paprika, and chili powder. Whisk until roux bubbles and cook for about a minute.
  1. Whisk milk, broth, and Mexican cream into the roux raise the stove to high heat until it’s boiling. Watch closely because the milk will boil fast and wildly! Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  1. Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt.
  2. Combine drained pasta, cheese,  veggies and plenty of salt & pepper in a 9×13 pan (use a non-stick pan or cooking spray for easy cleaning)
  3. You could eat this now if you’re really hungry! Or…move on to step 10.
  1. Sprinkle some bread crumbs on top and bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes.
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