The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Mexican Mac and Cheese

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Level: Easy

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Description

This fully-loaded Mexican Mac and Cheese is a fiesta in your mouth. Chorizo, peppers, jalapeños, corn and black beans in a chipotle-laced cheese sauce? Yes, please!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE PASTA MIXTURE:
  • 2-½ cups Medium Pasta Shells, Uncooked
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 ear Corn, Husks And Silks Removed, Kernels Cut Off The Ear
  • 4 ounces, weight Chorizo Or Spicy Chicken/turkey Sausage Of Your Choice, Diced
  • ½ whole Yellow Onion, Diced
  • ½ whole Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • ½ whole Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Seeded And Finely Chopped
  • ½ cups Canned Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 2 cups 1% Milk
  • ¾ cups Shredded Monterey Jack, Divided
  • 1-¼ cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar, Divided
  • 1 whole Chipotle Pepper In Adobo, Minced
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • ½ teaspoons Mexican Chili Powder
  • ¼ cups Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs
  • FOR GARNISH:
  • 2 Tablespoons Freshly Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 whole Jalapeño, Thinly Sliced

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cook pasta according to package directions. Then drain it and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or pan. When hot, add your corn kernels and sausage. Sauté for 5 minutes until the corn is cooked through and the sausage is lightly browned. Add the onion, bell peppers and jalapenos to the pan. Cook for another 4 minutes until the vegetables are just tender. Stir in the black beans and drained pasta shells and remove the mixture from the heat. Set aside while you make your spicy cheese sauce.

For the sauce: Start by making a roux (a roux is just butter and flour). Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When it’s melted and bubbling slightly, whisk in the flour. Cook your roux, while whisking constantly for 2-3 minutes. Add the milk to your roux and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened. Don’t panic if your sauce doesn’t thicken right away, it can take 6-8 minutes. When the sauce is thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, lower the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup of the Monterey jack, 1 cup sharp cheddar, the minced chipotle pepper, cumin, and Mexican chili powder.

If you cooked your sausage and vegetables in a cast iron skillet or oven safe pan, go ahead and pour the cheese sauce right over the pasta mixture. If not, transfer the pasta mixture into a lightly greased baking pan (I recommend a 9×9-inch) and add the Mexican cheese sauce. Either way, use a spatula to make sure everything is well coated in cheese sauce.

Top your Mexican mac and cheese with the remaining Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses (¼ cup each) and sprinkle with an even layer of panko breadcrumbs.

Bake for 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve garnished with cilantro and jalapenos. Fiesta on, dudes.

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