Someone needs to stage an intervention. I’ve been so hung up on mexican food (and tex-mex), that I’ve shirked all regard for personal safety and common sense. I went on a 72-hour binge of green chile chowder, never once combing my hair or stepping foot outside a ten-foot radius of the refrigerator. I’ve been sleepwalking to Ballard at night, pounding on Carta’s door, begging for molotes and fish tacos. Husband finds me in the morning, asleep on the pavement on Ballard Ave.
And now, with Cinco de Mayo looming on the horizon, I’ve gone and done it again. I woke up in a craze last Wednesday morning—an epiphany had come to me in my dreams. Peppers. Stuffed peppers. Cheesy stuffed peppers. Mac ‘n’ cheese. Unicorns. Unicorns with wings. Unicorns smoking cigars.
Wait, where was I…
Mac ‘n’ cheese. Spicy mac ‘n’ cheese. Chipotle mac ‘n’ cheese.
Peppers. Mac ‘n’ cheese. Peppers and mac ‘n’ cheese. Peppers stuffed with chipotle mac ‘n’ cheese!
I bolted out of bed, scrambling for my laptop to search for recipes that would fit the bill. Lo and behold, I had bookmarked a recipe for chipotle mac ‘n’ cheese from Homesick Texan a billion years ago.
I fiddled with it a bit, but the basics are the same: melty cheese (jack and sharp cheddar), cottage cheese, macaroni, spices, and one chipotle pepper in adobo (a.k.a. Hot Spicy Death in a Can). Careful handing these buggers.
Put the chipotle pepper, cottage cheese and spices in a blender with some milk. We’re makin’ the sauce, baby.
Pour over the noodles…
…toss in some grated cheese…
…and mix it up. Perfect.
Now, find yourself some poblano peppers. These look just right for stuffin’, don’t you think?
Lay out one pepper so it sits naturally. Not cross-legged, not yoga-style—just plain old natural sittin’ down. We don’t want them to tip over in the pan.
Make one long slit lengthwise…
…and then a short crosswise slit to form a “t”.
Open that puppy up and yank out the seeds. It’s easiest to bang it over your sink or garbage can.
And if you’re smart (not like me, obviously), you’d put on gloves before beginning this process. But me? Nah. I wanted my fingers to feel like they were on fire all day long. Keeps things interesting.
Lay them in your roasting pan (I lined mine with foil to keep cleanup easy)…
…and spoon in the macaroni mixture. Roast just until they look…
How did I never think of this before?
Oh, it’s because I wasn’t a junkie before. I lead a normal life in which I did not dream up stuffing peppers with spicy pasta. And I didn’t sleepwalk. And actually left the house and combed my hair.
How did they taste? To this addict, they were amazing. The pasta cooked perfectly inside the peppers, the spice was just right, and the moisture from the poblanos kept everything tender and tasty. Peppers or no peppers, this mac ‘n’ cheese was mighty fine. Spicy, creamy, but not overly saucy.
You may say that I’m nuts. Or you may say that I’m a genius. Or you may try to put me in Mexican food detox. But whatever the case, you need to make these for Cinco de Mayo. Your friends will be totes impressed.
Tomorrow I’m going to holla back at ya with this mango, corn, avocado and tomato slaw that I served alongside my crazy stuffed peppers.
Happy monday! Hope it’s a good one!
Poblanos Stuffed with Chipotle Mac ‘n’ Cheese (macaroni adapted from this recipe from Homesick Texan)
- 2 cups dry elbow pasta (macaroni)
- 1 1/2 cups grated jack cheese, plus more for topping
- 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I use Embasa brand cans that can be found on the Hispanic food aisle)
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 dash cumin
- salt and pepper
- 8 poblano peppers for stuffing
Combine cottage cheese, milk, chipotle pepper (use gloves or pull it out of the can with a fork), mustard powder, cumin, and salt and pepper in a blender. Puree until mixture is light pink in color and smooth. Pour over dry pasta and stir in cheeses.
Wash and dry poblano peppers. Set each pepper on prep surface so that it sits naturally and won’t tip over. Make one slit lengthwise down the pepper (leaving a little room at each end), and another crosswise (about 2″ long) near the top to form a “t”. Carefully open the pepper and remove seeds. Spoon macaroni mixture into each pepper, leaving at least 1/4″ room for expansion. Place in roasting pan and bake in a 375F preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully top each pepper with 2 tablespoons of the extra grated cheese. Return to oven and roast an additional 10 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
What to do with that opened can of chipotle peppers? See my tips right here. Or you can always dump the contents into a freezer bag and store for up to 6 months in the freezer.