If you read this last post about myself being one of the privileged few chosen to play with Lisa Fain’s new cook book, The Homesick Texan then you’ll know that this macaroni and cheese dish (and my 100th blog post!) is the second challenge recipe in our quest to be adopted by Lisa in the hopes of eating food like this everyday cooked lovingly by Lisa’s own huge hands.
I don’t really know if Lisa has large hands but isn’t everything big in Texas? This poblano macaroni is certainly big in spirit and belly-fillingness, It’s rich and cheesy with a tiny ever so slight chile bite to it. This was my first time using poblano’s so I didn’t quite know what the heat level was going to be like. There’s a great section in the book which explains all of the different chile’s available and Lisa describes the poblano as “mild and slightly earthy” and I couldn’t agree more especially with the earthy reference. After roasting and chopping the two chile’s which equated to one cup, I threw them into the creamy bechamel sauce and thought that’s a lot of chile. When I tasted the finished dish I need not have worried. It was very mild but full of flavor coming from mostly the poblano and the cilantro I thought.
As soon as it came out of the oven I showered it with freshly grated Cotija cheese which is a really great cheese, a little salty and very like a Feta this cheese is also a must have with any tacos or enchiladas.
Here’s the recipe courtesy of The Homesick Texan:
2 Poblano chiles
8 oz’s elbow pasta ( I used mini penne as It was all I could find)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 Cloves of minced garlic
2 Tbsp AP flour
1 1/2 Cups of whole milk
1 tsp of mustard powder
1/4 tsp of cayenne powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 Cup of chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Cups of grated white cheddar (12 ozs)
1/2 Cup of Cotija cheese
Roast the poblano’s until black and store them in an airthight bag for 20 minutes. When they’re done take them out and peel off the charred surface. Take out the seeds and slice them into inch long strips.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook it for about five minutes only.
Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet and pour the drained pasta into it. In a pot melt the butter on low and then add the garlic. After one minute add the flour and stir constantly until the roux is a light brown color. Whisk in the milk and stir until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard, cayenne, cumin, lime zest, cilantro and chopped poblano’s. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
Slowly add half of the cheddar cheese and stir until melted, if the sauce seems a little thick return it to the stove until soft again. If it’s still too thick then you can also add some milk to thin it out a little bit. Pour the sauce over the pasta and lightly mix. Top with the rest of the cheddar and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and slightly brown. When it comes out of the oven sprinkle with the Cotija cheese and serve at once.