On one of my many trips visiting my daughter in NYC, we went to S’Mac – a restaurant dedicated to mac and cheese! The location in her neighborhood closed down unfortunately but there’s still a location on the LES (Lower East Side). 10+ years later, I still remember the Masala Mac infused with spices- delicious!
Since my daughter moved to Baltimore years ago and I don’t visit NYC as often, I thought I would try to recreate the dish!
Change the spices and flavorings to create your own favorite version … using a combination of taco seasoning, Mexican chili powder, hatch green chili, jalapeño and corn, create a Mexican version of Mac and cheese.. Feel free to experiment with other cheeses like Pepper Jack or Colby Jack.
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely diced red pepper
1 green chillies, chopped
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 cloves garlic minced
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped, set aside a little for garnish
3 tablespoons butter, separated
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups warm milk
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
Boil the macaroni (al dente) according to the directions on the packet. Drain and set aside
Heat oil in a saucepan, add the onion and red pepper, saute for about 2-3 minutes.
Add the green chili, ginger and garlic and stir on low heat for about a minute.
Add the tomato, cumin powder, coriander powder and salt, stir till combined. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes Remove from heat and set aside.
In another saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter and when foamy add the flour and keep mixing for about a minute. Gradually add the milk and when the sauce is smooth, stir occasionally until thick and bubbly.
Add the cooked pasta, cheese and the tomato spice mixture; mix until the cheese is melted.
Pour into a greased 8″ x 8″ square glass dish or a 2 quart glass dish.
In a small pan, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter – mix in the dry breadcrumbs.
Add breadcrumb mixture evenly over the Mac and Cheese.
Bake at 400 for 5 mins until the breadcrumbs are brown. Garnish with cilantro.