Southwestern S’Mac n’ Cheese

Southwestern S’Mac n’ Cheese

Southwestern S’Mac n’ Cheese
Serve with green peas- I have done my best to recreate one of the best mac and cheese recipes I have ever tasted from Scottsdale’s Gainey Ranch Grand Hyatt. Baked in a skillet and topped with a crispy breadcrumb and cheese mixture, this earned “1,000 stars” from my 7 year old and everyone went back for seconds. I would say I nailed it! This is comfort food at its best so leave your diet at the door! I have, however, added in some wholesome fiber-rich changes, such as homemade whole wheat or spelt breadcrumbs and whole wheat penne pasta.
    Servings
    6people
    Cook Time
    45-50minutes
    Meal Plan
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    Servings
    6people
    Cook Time
    45-50minutes
    Meal Plan
    Add to Meal Plan:
    This recipe has been added to your Meal Plan
    Ingredients
    • 12ounce dry whole wheat penne rigatoni
    • 1teaspoon olive oil
    • 1 poblano pepper
    • 1 1/2cup milk (preferably whole)
    • 2tablespoon butter, divided
    • 1 1/4teaspoon whole wheat or spelt flour
    • 2ounce smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
    • 2ounce queso Oaxaca (also called asadero), shredded *
    • 10ounce Monterey jack cheese, shredded, divided
    • 1cup cooked smoked ham, diced
    • 1/4cup whole wheat bread crumbs**
    • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen petite peas
    Instructions
    1. Prepare penne rigatoni al dente according to package directions. Run under cold water, drain and place in a large bowl. Add olive oil and toss lightly.
    2. While pasta cooks, prepare roasted poblano pepper: Place the whole poblano pepper on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet. Broil about 2-3 minutes or until skin starts to blacken. Remove from oven, turn pepper over and broil an additional 2-3 minutes until skin facing up starts to blacken. Remove from oven and cool. Peel off skin, remove top of pepper and seeds, and dice roasted pepper into small pieces. Set aside.
    3. Turn off broiler and heat oven to 400 degrees.
    4. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. Remove from heat.
    5. In another medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, melt ½ to 1 tablespoon butter. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the flour, cooking for 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to brown the flour mixture. Slowly add the hot milk, whisking constantly (this will ensure no lumps). 6. Add smoked cheddar cheese, queso Oaxaca cheese and 4 ounces of Monterey jack cheese. Cook for 3 minutes until cheese melts, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, pour over pasta, and mix thoroughly. Add in diced ham and poblano pepper until mixed thoroughly.
    6. Spoon pasta and cheese mixture into an iron skillet (or 2 quart casserole coated with a little spray, oil or butter). If using skillet, place ½ to 1 tablespoon butter in iron skillet and put in the oven until butter is melted (skip this step if using a casserole dish).
    7. While butter and skillet heat up, combine breadcrumbs and remaining ¾ cup (6 ounces) Monterey cheese.
    8. Remove skillet from oven and sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly over the casserole.
    9. Bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned on the edges.
    10. While s’mac and cheese cooks, steam peas. Season with salt and pepper, and butter or olive oil, if desired. Serve with s’mac and cheese.
    Recipe Notes

    * You can substitute Muenster cheese in place of Queso Oaxaca

    ** Making your own breadcrumbs is super easy: for a ¼ cup of breadcrumbs, place 1 slice of day old bread in a food processor or blender and blend until desired consistency.

    Make this dish vegetarian by eliminating the ham.

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