Thursday, March 8, 2012

Poblano Pepper Mostaccoli

Remember the feeling of bringing something to school for show and tell? That excitement you feel when you’re about to show what you brought…is how I feel about this recipe. Lol! I know I’m a dork. But, this recipe really is one of my favorites and most importantly, it brings back a lot of memories of my family. From what I remember, my sister had eaten this pasta once before and asked my mother to make it for her. The first time she made it, I was not really sold on it. I looked at this plate of pasta that was green and wasn’t really sure what flavors to expect.  I thought, green colored sauce could be made with anything like cilantro…broccoli…uh…grass? JK!! Anyway, I ended up eating the pasta that day and years later….it’s still my favorite sauce to put over pasta!

The star of this dish is defiantly the poblano pepper. If you’ve never cooked with poblano peppers, they are spicier than a green pepper, but semi-milder than a jalapeño. Roasting the peppers allows them to become tender as well as for the spicy flavors to come out. Yes, you can roast them over a stove burner, but I prefer to put them in the oven because I’m semi-lazy. J Once the peppers have been roasted, peeled, and blended together with the cream cheese, the mixture creates this creamy, spicy and cheesy sauce. What I like about this sauce is that every time I make it, it comes out slightly different. There have been times when the sauce is very green, or creamier than usual. Other times it can come out very spicy, which I like!
Over the years, my family has made this dish for special holidays and Sunday dinners. Not long ago, I made this dish and remembered all the times my family and I made this dish for each other, and couldn’t help tearing up. Don’t know if I got sad because I miss them, or because I have no one here to make this pasta for me. LOL! I hope you give this recipe a shot. It just might become one of your favorite dishes too.
 Poblano Pepper Mostaccoli

5-6 poblano peppers
1 bar of cream cheese
1/3 cup of milk
2 teaspoons of salt
1 bay leaf
1 box of mostaccoli pasta
1 cup of shredded mozzarella or any brand of quesadilla cheese

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400. Dab a little bit of oil on a paper towel and rub peppers with oil.
  2. Place peppers on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes. Throughout cooking process, turn peppers so that they roast evenly on all sides.
  3. Meanwhile, put water to boil for the mostaccoli and throw in the bay leaf to simmering water.
  4. Once the peppers are done roasting evenly, remove from oven, and transfer into a zip lock bag. (Note: the moisture inside the zip lock bag will make the peeling process a lot easier.) Let peppers stay covered for at least a half hour.
  5. Toss in the mostaccoli and cook according to the box. Before draining the pasta, save ¼ cup of pasta water on the side.
  6. Remove one pepper at a time and peel and remove seeds from the pepper. Additionally, remove the stem from the pepper and discard. (Wash hands immediately with cold water.)
  7. Once all the peppers have been peeled and de-veined, place them in the blender with the softened, not melted, bar of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of milk and salt. Blend well for about 3 minutes.
  8. In a baking dish large enough to fit pasta, mix together the pasta, cream sauce and half a cup of shredded cheese. Use the pasta water that was set a side, if the sauce is too thick.
  9. Add the other half cup of shredded cheese to the top of the pasta and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Source: E.Martinez

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