I have to say, I was a bit conflicted on what to title this post (and recipe.) I mean, yes, it’s mac and cheese. However, queso is Spanish for cheese, right? Maybe the name is a bit redundant, even if by queso I’m referring to the cheesy dip stuff. And then I didn’t use macaroni noodles, I used these cute ruffles. So is it really queso mac and cheese? I don’t know, I’ve spent the last few days debating this point in my head only to come up with this as the best name (I swear, I’m not a total nut job! Ok, maybe I am.)
But one thing my husband weren’t confused about this holiday weekend was that we were craving some serious comfort food. We couldn’t agree who would be doing the cooking, so the Mac and Cheese Cook-Off gauntlet was thrown! I have to admit, he took the first round with his “six-cheese, full-fat, slightly-spicy” version. But I don’t give up easily. I remade the recipe with a few tweaks and mine kicked his “high-cholesterol, belt-widening, slightly-salty” noodles. Sorry, Honey, still love you!
|Queso Mac and Cheese||
- 2 cups ruffled pasta
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat pepper jack cheese
- 1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1-2 tablespoons milk, depending on desired sauce consistency
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh cilantro anto garnish
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the noodles. Cook until al-dente and drain.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a heavy-bottom sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the vegetable stock, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking in between each addition.
- Add the cumin and ancho chili powder and cook 2-3 minutes to allow sauce to thicken.
- Add the cheeses and whisk again until smooth. Add the desired amount of milk (more for a thinner sauce.) Pour cheese sauce over the pasta. Garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.