Poblano Mac and Cheese

Active Time: 25 Mins
Total Time: 40 Mins
Yield: Serves 10 (serving size: about 1 cup)

Are you ready for the cheesiest Mac and cheese in your life? With a cheese pull so long you could play double dutch with it? This poblano mac and cheese might just be the only mac and cheese you’ll ever make again. If you’re not a fan of heat, use a bell pepper instead of a poblano to cut down on the spiciness. Regular Velveeta will work if you can’t find Mexican. This dish can be made in a cast-iron pan or transferred to a 9×13 baking dish. It’s best eaten warm while all the cheese is still gooey. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound uncooked cavatappi pasta
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups chopped poblano chiles (from 2 large chiles)
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces Oaxaca cheese, shredded
  • 6 ounces processed Mexican cheese (such as Velveeta Mexican), cubed
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1small red Fresno chile, sliced

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 425°F.Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

Step 2

Melt butter in a large 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add poblanos; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add flour and salt; cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add milk to skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Step 3

Add Oaxaca and Velveeta, stirring until cheese is melted. Stir in crema. Add pasta in batches; stirring to combine. 

Step 4

Combine panko and chili powder in a medium bowl. Sprinkle on top of pasta. Bake in preheated oven until top is lightly browned and edges are bubbly, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and Fresno chile slices.

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