Country Sampler Special Edition
Corn and Poblano Mac and Cheese with Bacon
When fresh corn is plentiful, Paige Rhodes of My Modern Cookery is constantly trying to think of ways to use the crop while it’s at its peak. Sweet corn, slightly spicy roasted poblano peppers and salty bacon create a delectable flavor trio for this twist on mac and cheese.
INGREDIENTS 2 cups uncooked short cut pasta, such as rotini 4 ounces bacon, chopped (about 4 slices) 1½ cups fresh corn kernels (off roughly 2 ears) 1 roasted poblano pepper, chopped (or jarred roasted red pepper) ½ medium onion, diced finely 2 cloves garlic, minced 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup whole milk 2½ cups shredded pepper jack cheese, divided ½ cup sour cream ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Place bacon in a large sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat. Sauté until the bacon is crispy and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and return the pan to medium heat.
3. Add corn, poblano, onion and garlic to the pan, and sauté until tender and the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
4. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add flour and whisk to make a paste. Whisking constantly, cook for about 30 seconds before adding the milk. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add 2 cups of cheese and stir until melted. Then add sour cream, salt and pepper, and stir until incorporated.
5. Add drained macaroni and the corn mixture to the cheese sauce, and stir well to combine.
6. Transfer to a baking dish and top with the remaining ½ cup of cheese and the cooked bacon. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
RECIPE AND PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PAIGE RHODES OF MYMODERNCOOKERY.COM.