Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chipotle Mac and Cheese

Lately I have found myself craving mac and cheese. Who am I kidding.....I am always craving mac and cheese. I especially love a good homemade version where the cheese burns just a little along the edge. mmmmm....heaven. So where to start......I knew that I wanted it to be spicy and cheesy, so I decided to go with a chipotle mac and cheese.  My husband was not about to say "No" to my idea, because he LOVES spicy food. To him, the spicier the better.  So I gathered up what I would need and started cooking.  Here is how it all turned out.

Chipotle Mac and Cheese
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3 cups elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tsp adobo sauce
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnish
8 oz mozzarella cheese, divided
4 oz chipotle cheddar cheese (Recommended: Cabot) or pepper Jack, divided
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Up to 1/4 cup reserved pasta water, as needed
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. chili powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until done.  Save 1/4 cup of the pasta water, then drain, place pasta back in pot, and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, get out a large saucepan and melt the butter over a medium heat.  Once the butter is melted, add in the flour and continuously stir until the two ingredients form a smooth mixture.  Continue to stir this mixture for another 30-40 seconds.  Next, add in the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, then stir.  After that, slowly whisk in the milk until there are no more lumps in the mixture.  Now add the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and cilantro to the milk mixture and continue to stir until well combined.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir continuously until the mixture thickens and begins to lightly boil.  Once the mixture begins to boil turn the heat down to low and let simmer for about 2-3 minutes and then remove from heat.  Add in most of the mozzarella, chipotle cheddar, and sharp cheddar cheeses, stirring as you add, and saving some of the cheeses to sprinkle over the top before baking.  The cheeses should melt nicely into the milk mixture, but if it becomes too thick, add in some of the reserved pasta water to thin it out.

Now pour the milk-cheese mixture over the pasta and stir until the pasta is well coated.  Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and spread the pasta out into it.  Sprinkle with remaining cheeses, chili powder, and panko bread crumbs.  Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving, and if desired, garnish with extra cilantro and chili powder.  Enjoy!    

Source: adapted from Smells like home


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