Roasted Poblano Mac 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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1-2 poblano peppers (use 1 if you want it a little bit milder)
2 1/2 c. milk (I used 1%)
1/4 c. flour
5 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
4 oz. shredded Monterrey jack cheese, divided
6 c. cooked whole-wheat elbow macaroni (about 3 c.dry)
1/2 c. panko
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. salt (plus more, to taste)
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro


Serving Size: 1 ramekin

Turn on broiler. Place poblano peppers on a rimmed baking sheet and broil for about 10 minutes or until skin is blistered and starting to blacken, turning halfway through. Place peppers in zip-top bag for 5 minutes. Remove from bag and peel discard stems, seeds and ribs. Chop peppers and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Combine milk and flour in a large saucepan over high heat, whisking constantly. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 4 ounces of cheddar cheese and 3 ounces of Monterrey jack cheese and whisk until melted. Stir in macaroni, poblano peppers, and salt to taste.

Divide mac & cheese into 6 large ramekins or mini cocottes sprayed with oil or cooking spray (you can also use a casserole dish if you don’t have ramekins). In a small bowl, stir together panko, olive oil, salt and pepper. Top ramekins with reserved cheese and then panko. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until panko is golden brown. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.