We are starting our last week of blogging marathon for this month and I chose ‘Member’s Choice’ as my theme. Valli compiled a list of dishes that all the BM members suggested and we were asked to pick 3 dishes for this week.
When I saw ‘Baked Mac & Cheese’, I knew I will definitely be making it. I like mac & cheese, but rarely make it because my husband is not a big fan of it — he thinks it is too milky and cheesy for his taste — the two reasons I really like it. But now my sister is in town and she is a fan of it. Gives me a chance to try mac & cheese recipes that I have been bookmarking from a while now.
Today’s mac & cheese has a Mexican twist with poblanos, corn and cilantro in it along with the regular ingredients of cheese and milk. I thought the addition of poblanos was going to make this dish spicy, but it was very mild with a slightly smokey taste in the background. Original recipe had mushrooms in it, but I skipped them and used some onions instead.
I made only 2 dishes that you see in the picture because I was making it for me and my sister. But once the kids tasted it, they loved it and everyone wanted a share from the 2 portions I made. I was happy that even my pasta-hating mom liked it and had 2 helpings of it.
1lbpasta. Any short cut (like macaroni or penne) - I used penne rigate -- penne with lines
3cupsCorn- (fresh or frozen)
1Onion- medium, chopped
For the Cream sauce:
2tbspAll purpose flour
1½cupsMilk- (You can also use 1 cup milk and ½cup heavy cream)
2cupsCheese- shredded (I used a combination of sharp cheddar and pecorino cheese--original recipe had manchego cheese)
For the Green Sauce:
2Poblano- medium, deseeded and chopped
1cupWater Vegetable Stockor
Prepare the Veggies: Heat 1tbsp oil in a saute pan; add the onions and corn and cook on medium heat until the veggies are soft and lightly browned around the edges. Once down, set them to a side.
Prepare the Green Sauce: Grind the ingredients listed under Green sauce into a smooth paste.
Prepare the Cream sauce: In a medium saucepan; melt butter and oil. Add the flour and cook whisking constantly until flour doesn't smell raw anymore and turns golden. Add milk, whisking constantly, until a smooth homogenous mixture forms. Stir in 1cup of grated cheese.
Next add the poblano green sauce and cook until the mixture thickens, about 20~25 minutes.
In the meantime, cook pasta according to package instructions. Before draining reserve 1cup of pasta cooking water, then drain and return to the same pot.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Add cream sauce and the sauteed veggies to the cooked pasta, stir in a little bit of pasta cooking water, if the mixture looks too dry.
Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for 15~20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and pasta is bubbly.