In one of my earliest posts on my own Mac and Cheese, I waxed poetic for a solid three paragraphs on my personal and family history with this classic American dish. If you want, you can read about it on the link above, however, suffice it to say, should old wives' tales start coming true, "you are what you eat" would have serious macaroni & cheese consequences for me. If you start hearing of people turning into random foods, look for me in the pasta aisle.
The "extra" ingredients that Lisa Fain uses in this fab dish really give it the pop and zing that make this M & C special... and give it true Texas flavor! YUM. I can't put my finger on if it's the cilantro, the lime, the cumin, the poblanos... or a combination of all of the above. Every mouthful brings flavors that burst across your tongue and delight the senses.
Six stars on a four star scale!
Poblano Macaroni & Cheeseadapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook, page 265
2 poblano chiles
8 oz (2 cups) elbow pasta (I used farfalle)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground cumin (accidentally used 1 tsp because I looked at the wrong recipe)
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt & black pepper to taste
4 cups grated white cheddar
1/2 cup Cotija cheese
1. Roast the poblano chiles under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close tightly and allow chiles to steam for 20 minutes. Remove from bag, and rub off skin; then remove the stem and seed, chipping into 2" long pieces.
2. Preheat the oven to 375. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente; drain and dump into a large greased baking dish.
3. On low heat, melt the butter, then add the garlic, cooking for 1 minute. Add flour, stirring constantly and cook until a light brown paste forms (1 minute). Whisk in the milk and stir until thickened but fluid, then remove from the heat. Stir in remaining seasonings.
4. Add half the cheese and stir until combined into the sauce. (If you need to, return to low heat, but don't allow to get too thick -- adding milk 1 tsp at a time can, however, thin back out.) Pour over pasta and top with remaining half of cheddar. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until cheese is browned.
Sprinkle with Cotija and serve. Optional, garnish with a sprig of cilantro.
Until next week, when you learn what Week 3 will bring... a teaser... expect a whole lot of chiles and some red meat!
This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef.
Check out what some of my collaborators made:
girlichef #1 (#2) - Foodness Gracious (#2) - Kahakai Kitchen - Mangoes and Chutney - Stirring the Pot - EKat's Kitchen - A Platter of Figs - Anchovies and Butter - Sweet Life - Fudge Ripple - Miz Helen's Country Cottage - Bo's Bowl - Creative Kitchen - Rook no. 17 - Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor - Cooking for My Peace of Mind - La Cocina de Leslie (#2) - Nutmeg Nanny - My Year on the Grill