Last week, our local newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal, had an article (“Mac and cheese sparking new creativity in kitchens”) in their food section that caught my eye. As I have said before, I LOVE mac and cheese! But adding poblano peppers was the clincher for me.
I modified the recipe a bit: I added a poblano pepper, some Swiss cheese, upped the spice amount to 1 teaspoon and used whole milk Greek yogurt. I thought about using pimentón instead of sweet paprika, but I decided it might make the dish too smoky. For my taste, I think I made the right call. The macaroni and cheese had just enough smokiness from the roasted poblanos.
I was also a little concerned that it would not be creamy enough but I did not miss the thicker béchamel-type sauce of other mac and cheese dishes. If you like mac and cheese, give this one a try!
Creamy Poblano Macaroni and Cheese
3 large poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped*
1 pound elbow macaroni (or shape of your choice)
1 – 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
4 ounces white cheddar, grated
4 ounces Swiss cheese, grated*
½ cup Greek yogurt, whole milk and plain
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to the broiler setting. Put the peppers on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Place the sheet in the oven. Watch the peppers for blistering. They should be charred before you turn them to the other side.
When they are charred all around, place them in a plastic bag. Let them steam for at least a 30 minutes or until they are cool enough to handle. Peel the skin from the peppers. Remove the seeds and the membranes (that is where the pepper holds its “heat”). Chop the peeled peppers and reserve.
Prepare your pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain well in a colander and set aside.
In the pot you used to prepare the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the spices (cumin, paprika and garlic powder) and stir them into the butter to blend.
Return pasta to pot and add the cheese, Greek yogurt, milk and poblano peppers. Add salt and pepper, to your taste, and continue stirring until the cheese has melted and covers the pasta smoothly. Serve immediately.
*NOTE: I have a post that shows how to roast peppers (BASICS: Roasting Peppers). Also, you can use 8 ounces of either cheddar or Swiss cheese. I’m sure you can use only one cheese and the mac and cheese will still be delicious, but I like the mix of flavors. If you want to use a different cheese, make sure it is a melting cheese.
If you like mac and cheese give these two other recipes a try and keep an eye out for more!