Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Roasted Poblano Pasta and Cheese

Pob Mac, originally uploaded by Kim De.

I continue my quest for the perfect macaroni and cheese with a hint of heat. Today I decided to combine a few recipes for my own creation.

Enter Roasted Poblano Pasta and Cheese (pasta because you are free to be creative with the shape!)

I got to start with my favorite activity - roasting peppers! Just LOVE that smell!

After steaming them slightly and rubbing the skin free, I diced them and set them aside. Next came the cheese. Most recipes call for shredded. I prefer to cube it. Whichever way you do it, PLEASE dont buy the pre-cut kind. It is worth the effort to do it yourself!

Jumping ahead, the white sauce and pasta are combined with the peppers and placed in a baking dish (or in my case, my trusty 12-inch cast iron skillet).

A hot oven finishes the process by baking to a crunchy crust.

As for the review, the flavor is incredible! A nice level of slow heat that mingles well with the cheese. And if you like baked macaroni and cheese that is also creamy like the stove-top kind, this one is for you. I actually dont yearn for that texture, so the search continues.

I actually think I have an idea as to how to fix this problem. Stay tuned...

Roasted Poblano Pasta and Cheese

3 large fresh poblano chiles
Sea salt
1 lb macaroni or pasta of your choice
8 oz sharp white Cheddar, grated or cubed
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp Tabasco
3 Tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 cups milk, heated slightly
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or cast iron skillet.

Lay chiles on their sides on a gas burner and turn flame on high. Roast chiles, turning with tongs, until skins are evenly charred, about 10 minutes.

Steam until cool in a closed paper bag, about 15 minutes. Under cold running water, rub off burned peel. Then discard stems, core and devein chiles (scraping away all seeds), and cut into long, thin strips.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking often, without allowing flour to brown, about 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in warm milk. Add salt and nutmeg. Return sauce to medium heat and bring to simmer. Continue to cook, stirring until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al-dente, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to large bowl.

Stir cheese into the white sauce. Add the cayenne, paprika, mustard and Tabasco. Heat, stirring, until cheese just melt and sauce is smooth.

Pour the sauce over the pasta in the bowl. Add the chiles and stir. Spoon into the prepared dish. Bake until pasta is heated through, sauce is bubbling, and top is browned, about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand on a rack for 5 minutes. Serve.

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