Do you ever feel like some recipes are more challenging than others? This recipe was a challenge for me. The reason is that my husband never liked homemade macaroni and cheese, so I never made it! Yes, I will confess he loves his Kraft mac n cheese! No way!! He never knew, but I stopped making that for him years ago… Ssshhh!
So after many years, I was asked by a friend to enter this macaroni and cheese contest, and of course the cook in me could not say no. The first thing that came to mind was my favorite cheesy dish I like to share with friends, Queso Fundido! I like to make mine with Mexican chorizo and roasted poblano peppers.
Set the top shelf in oven to about 10 inches from top broiler. Preheat broiler for 5 minutes. Preheat a nonstick medium pan to medium/high heat for 3 minutes. Place the poblano pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook under broiler, turning when needed, until the skin blisters on most sides. Never leave the broiler unattended. Cook the chorizo in nonstick pan for 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer chorizo to a plate lined with paper towels, set aside. Remove poblano from oven and let it cool in plastic storage bag or in between a clean kitchen towel.
Combine the milk and heavy cream in a glass bowl or large measuring cup. Heat in the microwave for 35 to 45 seconds just to heat slightly, set aside. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, whisk in the flour and cook for another minute. Whisk in the milk mixture, add the nutmeg, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook on low/medium heat, without boiling, for 15 to 20 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add 1 pound of the shredded cheese, reserving the remaining cheese. Stir just until melted, cover and remove from heat.
Combine the crushed “Doritos” and panko bread crumbs in a bowl, set aside. While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside. Remove the blistered skin, stem, and seeds from poblano pepper, then dice. Spray a 13 x 9 pan with canola or olive oil. Add the cooked pasta, white cheese sauce, Mexican crema, chorizo, poblano pepper. Stir gently to combine. Top with remaining shredded cheese, panko and “Doritos” mixture. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Note: The macaroni and cheese is much easier to serve if you let it cool slightly. If you like it even more cheesy, add another cup of your favorite shredded cheese! Cover and keep in refrigerator for up to 4 days.
If you don’t find fresh poblano peppers, substitute with 1 cup diced green chiles in a can.