Tuesday, December 8, 2015


My good friend Leslie recently visited from Tucson with her 3 adorable schnauzers to make this delicious Mac 'N Cheese dish with me. The recipe is from Pati's Mexican Table, which I am not familiar with, but it sure was fabulous! I think I need to tune into her program on The Food Network!
Here is Leslie putting the Mac and Cheese together-ready for baking!
1 lb. penne or elbow shaped pasta (Leslie was in Italy earlier this year and bought this pasta which is what we used.)
3 large poblano chiles (The recipe calls for just rinsing, stemming, seeding and cutting into chunks, but we decided to roast them.)

I am peeling and seeding the roasted poblanos. We actually used 4 peppers. Your whole house will smell wonderful! The first night I met my husband I was roasting peppers and I think that is why he fell in love with me!
3 cups milk
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the dish
6 Tbsp. flour
3/4 tsp. kosher or coarse sea salt (+ or - to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups Monterey Jack (or Mozzarella) plus 1 cup for topping (We used Monterey Jack.)
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesana Reggiano plus 1/2 cup for topping (Here we used the Pecorino Romano; Leslie hand-grated!)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup corn kernels, shaved from the cob or frozen
1/2 pound zucchini (about 2 medium); chopped
6 slices bacon, fried and cut into chunks
1/4 tsp. kosher or coarse sea salt

Bring salted water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente; about 8-10 minutes. Drain.
In the jar of a blender, puree the poblano chiles and milk until completely smooth. Strain into a bowl, pressing with the back of a wooden spoon to make sure you get mostly liquid.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Once it has melted and begins to bubble, add the flour. Cook, stirring continuously for about 5-8 minutes to make a roux. Pour the poblano chile mixture into the roux, stirring as you do. Add salt and freshly ground pepper and cook until the sauce thickens, about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add 3 cups Monterey Jack and 1 cup Pecorino Romano, mix well, remove from heat and stir until well combined.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until completely soft and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the corn and cook for a couple minutes more. Add the zucchini, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, mix well and set aside. You don't need to cook the zucchini as it will get plenty done in the oven.
In the large pot where pasta was cooked, add the drained pasta, poblano chile sauce and sautéed vegetables, gently toss to mix. Add the fried bacon.

Pour into buttered baking dish, top with remaining grated cheese and place in the oven until the top layer of cheese has melted and begun to crisp along the edges, about 25-30 minutes. Serve hot.
Gracie and Leslie enjoying a well-deserved glass of vino after that delicious meal!
The next morning, I added 6 eggs to the leftovers and made a fabulous Mac N' Cheese Mexicano omelette.

Christmas is a little more than 2 weeks away! Last time I told you about a Bourbon Infused Chicken Liver Pate with Cranberry Gelee that I made for Thanksgiving. It was fairly simple to put together and was a big hit. I think it would be a wonderful addition to your Christmas dinner, as well! Here are a couple of shots as I was making it.
It's hard to make liver look pretty, but here it is coming out of the food processor and getting pressed through a fine sieve. This step is important for getting a perfectly creamy consistency.
Adding 2 ounces of bourbon.
Flaming bourbon!
Pate in its mold to chill overnight before topping with Cranberry Gelee.

Here's the Pate plated and ready to serve.

And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

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