Remember that righteous mac and cheese from January?
[see this video-- at 3:30]
Well Nathan happened to request it this weekend [and I responded a lot like Monica at 3:43], but I decided to kick it up mexican style in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Lucky for us, this version didn't end in wicker shoes and the Psycho theme song. Instead, we got cheesy shells with a fajita flare.
Think noodles tossed with onions, bell pepper, chicken, green chiles, cumin, paprika, pepper jack, and sour cream. If that doesn't scream the Fifth of May, I don't know what does. So lose the tortilla and pull out a bowl because mac and cheese just got loco!
Chicken Fajita Mac and Cheese
6 ounces pasta shapes, such as shells
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 (7 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 cup cooked, chopped chicken
1/4 cup sour cream
3 ounces shredded (or finely diced) sharp cheddar cheese*
3 ounces shredded (or finely diced) pepper jack cheese*
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions just until al dente. Drain well and keep warm.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in another large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, red bell, and salt and pepper and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Mix in the garlic, and saute 1 minute more. Stir in the cumin, paprika, and green chilies. Toss to coat and heated through. Remove from heat and add the chicken, sour cream, hot pasta, and cheeses. Mix until well combined.
Transfer to a lightly greased 7x11-inch baking dish (8x8 is good too! or I opted for four of my Le Creuset Soup Bowls). Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until slightly browned and bubbling. Let cool briefly before serving.
*For the cheeses involved in the recipe I head to the grocery deli. They will kindly slice you the ounce amount you need (in a quality brand nonetheless!), which means it's already measured come cooking time and no waste!!
Adapted from Annie's Eats.