Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Spicy Ancho Chile Mac & Cheese

I was inspired to create a good spicy macaroni & cheese dish after my husband and I tasted a delicious macaroni & cheese, served with a spicy duck rilette on Valentine's Day at a local Brooklyn restaurant called the Jakewalk.  Initially, I was going to do mine with a duck rilette also (even though duck rilette could perhaps be the one thing less healthy than mac & cheese!).  However, that is going to have to wait for another day.  For tonight's recipe, I decided to use primarily pepperjack cheese to add some heat and pepper-flavor.  I also added heat with cayenne pepper, while using tomato mainly for texture and color.  The ancho chile powder adds a smokiness to the overall flavor, as well as color to the dish.

This dish is surprisingly easy to make.  I made enough for two nights at least, mainly because I seem to think I am cooking for an army of people, rather just for two.  Also, the duck wasn't missed at all - this dish had enough kick and spice to steal its own spot in the limelight.

Sasha's Spicy Ancho Chile Mac & Cheese
1 lb box fusilli pasta
4 T butter, melted
1/3 cup flour
3 cups skim milk
1 tsp cayenne pepper
8 oz pepper jack cheese, grated
3 oz cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup panko bread crumbs, plus extra on top
2 diced tomatoes
2 tsp ancho chile powder
2 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper to taste

First, cook the pasta.  Then, combine the flour and skim milk in a pot and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until it thickens.  Stir in the grated cheese, spices and thyme leaves (removing from the sprigs).  Add the tomatoes and the panko.  Toss with the pasta and place in a casserole dish.  Top with additional panko and bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes until the macaroni & cheese is crunchy on top.  The end result has some heat, but is not on fire, which was just perfect for me.  I would have used regular macaroni but my husband requested that I do the dish with fusilli instead, which wound up looking really  beautiful.

I had enough to fill my heart-shaped Emile Henry casserole dish, but also some extra which I used to fill my set of ramekins.  I guess I'll be eating macaroni & cheese for lunch tomorrow . . . and the day after that . . .


  1. This reminds me of the mac and cheese I made the other day! Isn't it great have leftovers for the next day already made? I love that. Love the heart pan!

  2. I had to laugh. Mac n' cheese is a bit like the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Pea soup is another that reproduces in the fridge overnight.

  3. that sounds and looks amazing! I need to try to make something like that!


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