Mac and cheese just got a flavorful makeover that’s got heads turning. This Tex-Mex twist on a classic is all about Southwestern flair: lightly charred poblano, roasted garlic, diced tomato, and 4 kinds of cheese (you read that right!) add serious oomph to the creamy sauce. This super savory melange coats corkscrew cavatappi for an extra-hearty experience. For a finishing touch, everything is sprinkled with a layer of crispy panko. It’s almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.
Produced in a facility that processes milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybean.
Southwest Spice Blend
Cream Sauce Base(ContainsMilk)
Pepper Jack Cheese(ContainsMilk)
Monterey Jack Cheese(ContainsMilk)
Mexican Cheese Blend(ContainsMilk)
• Adjust rack to top position and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil (use a large pot for 4 servings). Wash and dry produce. • Halve poblano lengthwise; remove stem and seeds. Dice tomato. Place garlic on a small piece of foil; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cinch into a packet.
• Place poblano halves cut sides down on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Place garlic foil packet on same sheet. • Roast on top rack until poblano is tender and lightly blistered and garlic is softened, 15-17 minutes. • Remove from oven. Once cool enough to handle, transfer everything to a cutting board. Dice poblano. Mash garlic with a fork. • Heat broiler to high or heat oven to 500 degrees.
• Once water is boiling, add cavatappi to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 9-11 minutes. • Reserve ¾ cup pasta cooking water, then drain. • Meanwhile, place 1 TBSP butter (2 TBSP for 4 servings) in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave until melted, 30 seconds. Stir in panko and half the Southwest Spice (you’ll use the rest later). Season with salt and pepper.
• Heat pot used for cavatappi over medium heat. Add cream sauce base, cream cheese, and remaining Southwest Spice; bring to a simmer, whisking, until smooth, 1-2 minutes. • Reduce heat to low and whisk in pepper jack, Monterey Jack, and Mexican cheese until melted and smooth.
• Stir drained cavatappi, mashed garlic, diced poblano, and tomato into pot with cheese sauce. If needed, stir in reserved pasta cooking water a splash at a time until cavatappi is coated in a creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
• Transfer mac & cheese to an 8-by-8-inch baking dish (for 4 servings, use a 9-by-13-inch baking dish). Sprinkle with seasoned panko; broil or bake until panko is browned and crispy, 2-3 minutes. TIP: Watch carefully to avoid burning. • Divide between plates or serve directly from baking dish.