If you don’t have foil loaf pans, use other small baking dishes.
16-ounce box cavatappi or macaroni pasta
tablespoons olive oil, divided
tablespoons unsalted butter (½ cup)
cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
cup crema or crème fraîche
teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
cups preshredded cheddar-Jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
cups preshredded Gouda cheese (about 8 ounces)
teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
Freshly ground white pepper
fresh Poblano or Fresh Pasilla Chile
, charred, peeled, stems and seeds removed, finely diced
cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon oil to keep pasta from sticking.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat insides of 6 (6x2-inch) foil loaf pans with cooking spray. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour until a smooth paste is formed, about 3 minutes. Whisk in milk, crema, and nutmeg until smooth; whisk in cheeses until completely melted. Whisk in 1 teaspoon paprika; whisk in salt and white pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
Add pasta and poblano chile to cheese mixture; toss together. Pour evenly into prepared pans. In a bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining ½ teaspoon paprika, and breadcrumbs; stir in salt to taste. Sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Bake at 350°F until bubbly and lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. Serve.
Heat It Up! Add a touch more heat to this chile mac by substituting a large hot banana chile pepper for one of the Poblano chile peppers.
Prep Time: 25 min. / Total Time: 1 hr. 15 min.
Recipe from The Great Pepper Cookbook
Serves: 12 (1¼ cups)