Mexican Rigatoni and Cheese

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.

They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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Nonstick cooking spray
12 ounces dried rigatoni pasta (4 cups)
8 ounces uncooked chorizo sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1 medium fresh poblano chile pepper
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded asadero or Monterey Jack cheese (8 ounces)
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Pico de Gallo


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Place pasta in a very large bowl; set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook sausage, onion, and poblano pepper over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until onion is tender and sausage is browned. Drain off fat. Add chorizo mixture to bowl with pasta.

In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, chili powder, and cumin. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts. Pour over pasta in bowl. Add black beans. Stir to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into prepared dish.

Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through (160 degrees F). If desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro. Top each serving with Pico de Gallo.