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  • The Chopping Blog

Roasted Poblano Mac and Cheese

Erica F
Posted by Erica F on Jun 8, 2016

It’s barbecue season and, while I love grilling up a storm, sides are often my favorite part of a barbecue. Beans, greens, potato salads, and my personal favorite, mac & cheese are easy dishes to bring along to a gathering and can often provide a “healthy alternative” to all that meat. This recipe is not that “healthy alternative,” but it is a delicious twist on mac & cheese and utilizes some of the bounty of summer vegetables. I opted to use roasted poblanos because of their mild flavor, but lots of different peppers or other veggies (bell peppers, jalapenos, zucchini, tomatoes) can work depending on the spice level and flavor you are going for. Just be sure to roast them in order to soften them and deepen the flavor.

poblano roasted

Homemade mac & cheese is really easy to make and super versatile. It can serve as a side dish or be bulked up as a main course. Mac & cheese can also be a great catchall for any leftovers you may be trying to get out of your fridge. Bits of different cheeses, sour cream, greek yogurt, milk, salsas and other dips can all be thrown in to make rich, delicious and unique cheese sauces. Add in some chopped vegetables and/or meats to create a complete meal.

Roasted Poblano Mac & Cheese

2 Poblano chile peppers, roasted, cleaned and chopped

1 box elbow macaroni

½ cup butter, plus 2 TBS melted butter

½ cup all purpose flour

3 cups milk

3 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp white cheddar)

1 handful assorted herbs (I used whatever needed pruning in my garden--cilantro, green onion and parsley)

1-2 cups panko breadcrumbs

Step 1: Cook your pasta

Boil in salted water til al dente. I added seasoning salt to my water to give the pasta a little bit of flavor. Drain and set aside.

Step 2: Roast your peppers

You can roast any peppers and the process is pretty much the same. Roast peppers over a gas burner or toss on a cookie sheet and broil until blackened on all sides.

poblano on flame

Once blackened, put the peppers in a plastic bag and let them steam for about 10 minutes. The steam will loosen the skin making it easy to wipe off.

poblano in bag

Remove all the skin by wiping with a few paper towels or scraping with the back of your knife.

poblano wipe

Remove tops and scrape out all seeds.

poblano cleaned

The Chopping Block's Owner/Chef Shelley Young demonstrates how to roast peppers in this video:


Step 3: Make your roux and cheese sauce

While making roux can be a little intimidating, it’s actually quite a simple process, and since it serves as the basis for so many delicious sauces and gravies, I think everyone should take a stab at mastering it. Start with a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Melt your stick of butter, dump in flour, and whisk continuously.

butter in potbutter and flour

We’re making a white roux so we’re only going to cook it briefly. A minute or two should do it.

roux whisking

Add your milk, continuing to whisk until it comes to a boil.

whisk roux

Once boiling, the sauce will thicken quickly so keep an eye on it and when it seems thick enough, add in all of your cheese, whisk together, and take off the heat.


Add salt and pepper to taste and try not to just eat all the cheesy goodness right then and there! For more details on making roux, see my friend Charlie’s recent blog post on The Light and Dark Side of Roux.

Step 4: Combine

Chop your herbs, chop your peppers, and mix into the sauce.


Butter a large baking dish and put your pasta in it. Pour the cheese sauce on top and stir to combine.

sauce to noodles

Taste again for salt and pepper. Pasta can be really bland so err on the side of a little extra salt. Cover with breadcrumbs and sprinkle with any extra cheese.

mac n cheese

Drizzle melted butter on the top to help the breadcrumbs get nice and brown. Toss in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until bubbly and golden brown on top.

mac n cheese

Join one of The Chopping Block's many grilling classes like The Thrill of the Grill to learn about more great grilling sides or one of our fantastic sauce-focused classes like Culinary Boot Camp: Soups and Sauces to learn all about roux.

Grilling Classes

Topics: macaroni, mac n' cheese, roux, Recipes

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