Is it ever going to be Spring? Although it's warmed up a little here in Florida, this has been one chilly Winter, and I'm ready for it to be over.
Since it still feels bit like Winter we wanted a little comfort food for dinner tonight. We started with a couple of grilled New York Strip steaks, and mac and cheese sounded like just the right thing to compliment the steaks. But what kind of mac and cheese? Something with lots of flavor and maybe a little kick of heat to go along with the steaks sounded great.
A while back we made a Penne Pasta with Gouda and Prosciutto that was delicious, but tonight we wanted something a bit different. So, when I found this Chipotle Gouda Cheese from Boar's Head, I knew this was going to be good.
Gouda is very easy to shred on a grater and it melts almost instantly. Combining the Gouda with a little montery jack was the perfect amount of spice and flavor I was looking for, and adding the poblano gave the pasta a little extra boost of flavor without a lot of heat. This was perfect because the Chipotle Gouda has a nice amount of heat on its own and I wanted that chipotle to come across in the sauce. A sprinkle of panko and Parmesan on top adds just a little crunch to the creamy sauce and a couple of minutes under the broiler will brown the top to perfection.
This recipe is super easy and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. If you want to make a really special pasta dish, skip the box of mac and cheese with the packet of orange powder and make this instead. You will never want the packaged stuff again! Enjoy!!
1 TB Salted Butter
1 Poblano Pepper, seeds removed, diced
2 cups Half and Half
12 oz Shell Pasta, or other shape
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp White Pepper
8 oz Chipotle Gouda Cheese, shredded
4 oz Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
3 TB Grated Parmesan Cheese
3 TB Panko Bread Crumbs
Place 1 quart of water in a large pot and bring to a low boil.
In a large deep ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the diced peppers and saute for 4 minutes until tender.
Dip 2-1/2 cups of water from the pot and pour into the skillet, along with the half and half, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and boil for 10 minutes if using the shell pasta (maybe a few minutes less for smaller pasta) or until the pasta is just al dente.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add both shredded cheeses to the skillet and stir to combine. If the mixture is a little too thick, add about 1/4 cup of hot water to the pasta and stir.
In a small bowl combine the Parmesan cheese and panko crumbs and sprinkle the mixture over the pasta. Place the skillet under the broiler for 3 to 4 minutes or until the top is golden and serve immediately. Makes 6 - 8 servings.