Baked Poblano Mac and Cheese

This recipe comes from the Burdick family archives, but we added our poblano powder to really make it pop. You can really pick whatever kind of pasta you want, but it is best to keep the pasta small. You can even experiment with the topping (here in the picture we did a mixture of panko and ground pimenty pepitas for more flavor). The poblano isn't very spicy and is safe for kids!

8 oz Elbow Macaroni/Ditalini/other small pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp - 1 Tbsp Poblano powder
Salt to taste
2 cups of milk
2 cups (about 8oz) grated cheddar or gruyere cheese
1/2 cup panko

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium pot, cook pasta according to package instructions. Strain pasta from water and pour pasta back into the pot. 

Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pot, melt butter over low heat. Slowly add flour, dijon mustard, then poblano powder and salt, whisking continuously throughout the ingredient additions. Slowly add milk, while continuing to whisk, and increase heat to medium. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once at a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove the pot from heat and add 1.5 cups of grated cheese.  Stir with a wooden spoon to melt the cheese. Add cooked pasta to the mixture and stir till fully coated. 

Pour the pasta/cheese mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top along with a bit more poblano powder. Cover with panko and 2 more pinches of salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese bubbles and the crust is golden brown. 

Baked mac and cheese