Recipe courtesy of Hunter Fieri

Mexican Mac-n-Cheese

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed 

1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice 

1 red pepper, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch dice 

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt 

2 teaspoons cumin 

2 teaspoons chile powder 

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

1/4 all-purpose flour 

4 cups milk, cold 

2 cups shredded cheddar 

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack 

1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced 

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

1 pound mini rigatoni, cooked al dente according to package directions

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs 

1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese, for garnish

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, minced, for garnish 

1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, drained, minced, for garnish 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add the butter, corn, onions, red peppers, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt to a medium saucepot set over medium-high heat. Saute until the onions are translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the cumin, chile powder, cayenne pepper and flour and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, to make a roux, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the cold milk in a steady stream, stirring vigorously until the mixture is smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until starting to thicken, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the cheddar and Monterey Jack. Cook until the sauce is smooth and creamy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the scallions, pepper and rigatoni and mix well to combine.
  3. Pour the into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle the panko evenly over the top and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. Remove to a cooling rack and let rest for 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Garnish with the cotija, jalapeno and cilantro. Serve immediately.