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Pati's Mexican Table : TV Recipes

Pati Jinich Mac N' Cheese Mexicano

Mac 'N Cheese Mexicano
Mac 'N Cheese a la Mexicana

Serves: 8 to 10

Mac 'N Cheese a la Mexicana" alt="Mac 'N Cheese Mexicano
Mac 'N Cheese a la Mexicana" />


1 pound penne or elbow-shaped pasta

3 large poblano chiles (about 3/4 pound) rinsed, stemmed, seeded and cut into large chunks

3 cups milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the dish

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 cups grated Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese, plus 1 cup for topping

1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesano-Reggiano cheese, plus 1/2 cup for topping

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped white onion

1 cup corn kernels, shaved from the cob or thawed from frozen

1/2 pound chopped zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)

5 to 6 slices of bacon, fried and cut into chunks (optional)

1/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

To Prepare

Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot and cook pasta until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a large baking dish.

In the jar of a blender, puree the poblano chiles and milk until completely smooth. Strain into a bowl, pressing with the back of a wooden spoon to make sure you get mostly liquid.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Once it has melted and begins to bubble, add the flour. Cook, stirring continuously to make a roux or paste until you get the desired color (I go for light brown and a toasty aroma), about 2 minutes. Pour the poblano chile mixture into the roux or paste, stirring as you do. Add salt and freshly ground pepper and cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 to 12 minutes, occasionally stirring. If it gets lumpy, you can smooth the sauce by beating with a whisk. Add 3 cups of Monterey Jack cheese and 1 cup of Pecorino Romano, mix well, remove from heat and stir until well combined.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until completely soft and translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the corn kernels and cook for a couple minutes. Add the zucchini, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, mix well and set aside. We don’t want to cook the zucchini here, as it will cook in the oven.

In the large pot, where the pasta was cooked, add the drained pasta, poblano chile sauce and sautéed vegetables, gently toss to mix. If using fried bacon, add it in here! Pour into a buttered baking dish, top with the remaining grated cheeses and place in the oven until the top layer of cheese has melted and begun to crisp along the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.


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Hola, Pati!

I’ve been watching your show since its first season, and I absolutely love it! Your clever recipes and and warm personality are a perfect match. And your timing is perfect, too!

Imagine my surprise today as I watched your show featuring American classics with a Mexican twist. Your Mac ‘N Cheese Mexicano, Chipotle Agave Chicken Wings, and Extreme Brownies with Carmelized Pecans look very doable and delicious! I’ve been wanting to make dishes like these but didn’t know how to begin. Now I do!

Thanks for being such an inspiration!



So glad you like them, Nata! Send any special requests my way…

The repeat of this episode is still playing but I couldn’t wait to print out the recipe for the mac&cheese.

Patti, your program doesn’t come on until later in the afternoon. It is so worth waiting for. I am never disappointed. Your recipes are originally imaginable, and you are so enchanting and a delight.
Keep up the great inspirational recipes coming. Emily

Thank you for writing me such a kind and generous email. I am so happy to hear you enjoy my show: thanks for tuning in!

Your most welcome.

Can’t wait to try your Mac and cheese…we have loves a chipotle Mac and cheese at a local restaurant this is going to be a perfect substitute and new favorite.

Any thoughts on a recipe I have been wanting to recreate for years. I had a smoky poblano polenta once that I still crave to this day. Just wonder if your milk and poblano trick might work there too.

I absolutely think so: it would taste incredible.

The first time seeing you on TV I felt that I had to try your mac and cheese.

I forgot the bacon, but followed everything else pretty close and it was great. I don’t even normally eat mac and cheese but will do this receipt again!


Yey, Kevin!

My mouth was watering when watching the mac n cheese episode. I just had to try to get the receipt. Being that we are trying to eat healthier, I will have to try to make it dumbed it down from the way Patti does it. It’s one of those once in a lifetime type dishes.

Estimada Patti!! I love watching your program. We moved to Olympia, Washington from El Paso, Texas. My Mother was from Madera, Mexico and of course I grew up eating amazing Mexican food. As a foodie, I love making new and unique foods. Your program excites me and you make me homesick for the amazing foods and flavors that I grew up with and the way you reinvent foods. You are giving us great recipes that can be made by everyone and sharing the tastes of Mexico with us.

Thank you for your excitement and love that you send us. Benediciones y carino!

Hola Frances, Thank you very much for your message! I’m happy you found my program!!

Love the show and your recipes. Our satellite TV PBS channels no longer carries your show. It was a pleasant surprise to find it on a semi-local “Create” TV channel off-air via regular TV antenna.

I retouched the online photo of the dish. You may replace your dark online photo with my lightened version at no cost :-). I’m just trying to help you like you help us with your instructional TV show.

Thank you for your show.×307-Edited.jpg

Hola Pati,
I love your show. I just started watching recently on PBS and if I’m not home, I make sure to dvr it. I’m so excited to try all of the “Mexicanized” American recipes. They all look mouth watering. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful work. ;o)

Thank YOU for your lovely message, makes my work worthwhile.

Hi, I watched your TV show today and you made a Mexican hotdog. but i cant find the recipe and I don’t remember how you made it.

Hi Anne, Thank you for watching! Here’s how you make the Sonoran hot dog…Grill a turkey sausage and wrap in bacon, then split in half and add 2 tablespoons of grated melty cheese (such as mozzarella or monterey jack), and place back on the grill. Butter a hot dog bun and heat on grill. Assemble the hot dog in the bun, and top it with sausage, mayo, mustard, ketchup, chopped tomato and onion, and a grilled jalapeño chile. I hope you try it!

I happen to see your show for the first time and couldn’t wait to try this. I just made it and it’s the best Mac and cheese I’ve ever had in my life. Thank you so Much for sharing this amazing recipe. I know my family will love it!

So happy to hear!

Hi pati . Long time fan. In my grocery stores the poblano chiles are called pasillas. I cannot find poblano chiles. I shop at Safeway, lucks, raleys and the mexican stores. The poblano a you use are fatter and the chiles I get are thinner. Ughh

Hola Mariya, Sometimes stores in the U.S. label poblanos as pasillas! Don’t know why they do this!!

Some of our stores and even seed catalogs list Poblano peppers as Ancho Peppers which are dried Poblano peppers.

It is a mystery.

Here is more information about pasilla peppers at Wikipedia:

Loved your Mac N Cheese recipe. Tried it for the first time on Easter Sunday. Had a few friends over and they raved about it. My husband was a little nervous because I had not done a trial run. My friends laughed and said there was always “plan b.” No plan “b” needed it was great and I sent the recipe via e-mail to all who came over for lunch. What a change from regular Mac n Cheese. Soooo tasty. I also included the bacon. Awesome.

I love your story!!! Delighted to hear there didn’t need to be a plan B…

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