Macaroni and cheese is almost as American as apple pie and hot dogs. Though this tasty dish originates from Italy way back in the thirteenth century or earlier, its presence here in the United States dates back to New England in the 1700s where Thomas Jefferson is often credited with its existence in the New World. But no matter where it comes from, its popularity with Americans has never wavered. Since Jefferson’s day, this delicious comfort food has undergone various makeovers, depending on what part of the country you’re from, but its basic ingredients remain. Mexican style macaroni and cheese is just one of many variations you may want to try yourself at home the next time you get a yen for this American favorite.
For macaroni and cheese with some zest, try this Mexican style version that you can build upon at home. Here’s your list of ingredients:
Now that you’ve got your list of ingredients for your Mexican style macaroni and cheese, let’s put it all together. Start by cooking your macaroni according to the instructions on the bag or box. Next, melt butter or margarine over medium heat in a large sauce pan, then stir in 2 tbsps flour to make a roux. You can add more if you need it. Now, slowly add your milk to the roux, stirring constantly. You want it to thicken. Finally, stir in the cheeses, and continue cooking over low heat until they’re melted and the sauce is a little bit thick. Once this is accomplished, pour drained macaroni in a large casserole dish and pour your thickened cheese sauce over the top. Mix well, and stir in your diced green chilies. Now, sprinkle with chili powder before placing the casserole dish in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove dish and let cool for 10 minutes before pouring your pico de gallo over the top, and then place on the table for serving.
Southern style mac and cheese is simply macaroni and cheese and stewed tomatoes, and it’s very popular in the South. For this version with a Mexican style twist, use the basic recipe above but substitute your Jack cheeses for cheddar, leave out the green chilies and chili powder, and stir in a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies or Rotel diced tomatoes and habaneros or any brand of Mexican style stewed tomatoes after removing the mac and cheese from the oven and allowing to cool. Simply stir it in and leave off the pico before serving.
These are great recipes to build upon in your home. Diced chive or scallions would be a welcome addition to either dish. The Mexican version could benefit from a dollop of sour cream and/or freshly chopped cilantro as a garnish for serving. The possibilities are endless, so let your creative side out and explore your options.