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Que Pasta Mexican Mac 'n' Cheese

August 2010
Que Pasta Mexican Mac 'n' Cheese

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Rach says, "I just can't write enough mac 'n' cheese variationsjust like my burgers. And really, isn't it understandable? Macaroni plus cheese plus anything you like: How can you go wrong?"

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients
  • 4 poblano chiles
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound farfalle or whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (about 1/2 palmful)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander (about 1/2 palmful)
  • 2 1/2 cups grated mexican cheese blend or mix of cheddar and queso fresco or chihuahua cheeses
  • 1 firm avocado, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 small vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 4 scallions, chopped
Directions
  1. Preheat the broiler to high. Place the poblanos on a broiler pan and broil until blackened on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Place in a bowl and cover tightly or place in a paper bag and let cool for 10 minutes. Peel and discard the skin, stems and seeds, then chop the chiles.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
  3. While the pasta is working, in a large saucepan, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the butter to melt, then stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and chicken stock and bring to a simmer; season with salt and pepper. Add the cumin and coriander and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese with a wooden spoon until it melts.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the sauce and roasted poblanos. In a separate bowl, toss the avocado with the lime juice. Serve the mac n' cheese topped with the avocado, tomatoes and scallions.