• Prep Time
    10 Mins
  • Cook Time
    0 Mins
  • Total Time
    10 Mins
  • The base number of servings for this recipe is 8
    OK

    Creamy Mac ‘n Cheese Mexicano

    This Mac 'n Cheese is so cheesy inside and out that few can resist it. The cheese is a mild/sharp mixture of a melting cheese—Oaxaca, asadero, mozzarella, or Monterey Jack—and sharp, salty, dry cheese—queso añejo or Parmigiano Reggiano. There is a lot of it both in the béchamel sauce flavored with poblano chiles that enrobes the pasta and sprinkled on top which bakes into a fabulous crust. Nestled among the creamy noodles are juicy kernels of sweet corn, seasoned onion, and tender bites of zucchini. Bacon is optional.


    Ingredients
    *
    kosher or sea salt
    1
    pound
    elbow macaroni or penne
    1
    pound
    poblano chiles (3 to 4), seeded and cut into chunks
    3
    cups
    whole milk
    4
    tablespoons
    (½ stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish
    1/4
    cup
    plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    *
    freshly ground black pepper
    1
    pound
    Oaxaca, asadero, or mozzarella cheese, grated (about 4 cups)
    6
    ounces
    queso añejo, Cotija, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (1½ cups)
    6 to 8
    slices
    thick bacon, coarsely chopped (optional)
    2
    tablespoons
    olive oil if not using bacon
    1
    cup
    chopped white onion
    1
    cup
    fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
    8
    ounces
    zucchini, diced (about 1 medium)
    Directions
    Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1 minute less than the cooking instructions on the package indicate. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9-x-13-inch baking dish.
    Combine the poblano chiles and milk in a blender and puree until completely smooth.
    In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Once it has melted and begun to foam, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is light brown and has a toasty aroma, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk mixture, add ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, and whisk over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, whisking occasionally to prevent lumps from forming.
    Gradually stir in 3 cups of the grated Monterey Jack, Oaxaca, mozzarella or Manchego cheese, and 1 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, or queso añejo cheese and mix well. Remove from the heat and stir until the cheese has completely melted into the béchamel. Set aside.
    If using the bacon, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp and lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with paper towels, leaving behind as much fat as possible in the skillet. Set the skillet over medium heat. Or, if not using bacon, set a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt, mix well, and remove from the heat. (You don’t want to fully cook the zucchini in the pan, as it will cook further in the oven.) Transfer the contents of the pan to the bowl with the pasta, add the poblano béchamel and the bacon, if using, and gently stir together.
    Scrape the pasta into the buttered baking dish. Combine the remaining cheeses and sprinkle over the top in an even layer. Bake until the cheese has melted and begun to crisp and brown along the edges, 25 minutes. Serve hot.

    The base number of servings for this recipe is 8
    OK

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