Macaroni and cheese was a big part of my childhood. My mom makes the best. No lie. She totally does. I have also always been a purist when it comes to my mac and cheese. Just cheese and noodles. No fancy breadcrumbs or any type of additions. I just wanted cheese and noodles. Then I grew up and started playing around with stuff. The addition of bacon is always good, and crispy bread crumbs on top is not so bad. Then I had this poblano macaroni and cheese. My oh my! It rocked my mac and cheese purist mind. It contains roasted poblano chiles, lots of seasoning and just a hint of lime. This is not my mamas mac and cheese…that is for sure!
It’s beautifully creamy yet still has a nice stringy cheesiness to it. I loved the addition of the roasted poblano chiles because it added a nice depth of flavor that most mac and cheese does not have. It could easily make dinner on it’s own or a perfect side dish. I served mine along side some delicious fried pork chops. I also used my grandmothers cast iron skillet as the cooking vessel. It was the perfect choice. And (in case you are worried) it’s not that hard to clean out the pan afterwards
Poblano Macaroni and Cheese
Yield: 12 inch skillet
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
2 Poblano chiles
8 oz. elbow pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves of minced garlic
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups grated white cheddar
1/2 cup Cotija cheese (I could not find)
Source: The Homesick Texan Cookbook
Roast the poblano chilies under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place the chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tightly, and let the for 20 minutes. Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin. Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin. Remove the stem and seeds and chop the chiles into 1-inch long pieces.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to your package's directions ad then drain the pasta. (You want the pasta to be cooked but not mushy; cook for 5 minutes.)
Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a large baking dish or a large 12 inch cast-iron skillet, and pour the drained pasta into the dish.
In a pot (you can use the pot the pasta cooked in or you can do this while the pasta boils), on low heat melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook until a light brown, toasty paste is formed, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and stir until it's thickened a bit but still fluid, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard powder, cayenne, cumin, lime zest, cilantro, and chopped poblano chiles. Adjust seasonings and add salt and black pepper.
Slowly add half of the cheddar cheese and stir until it's melted and well combined into the sauce. (If the sauce has cooled too much and the cheese won't melt, return the pot to low heat on the stove seems a little thick return it to the stove until soft again. If however, the sauce gets too thick, like a custard, you can thin it by stirring in milk, a teaspoon at a time.) Pour sauce over pasta and top with the remaining half of the cheddar cheese and bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Sprinkle with Cotija cheese, and serve immediately.