I was not in the mood for a traditional mac and cheese with the ubiquitous white sauce. So, this version has the mac and the cheese but with a punch. I add black beans, roasted corn, taco seasoning for the punch and a mix of Mexican queso blanco, a creamy, soft, and mild un-aged white cheese and a little sharper cheddar cheese. The queso blanco is like fresh mozzarella and is good spread out throughout the dish in cubes while the cheddar holds the dish together, since there is no sauce. Then finally I top it with cubes of avocado for that creamy finish.
|Mexican Style pasta with black beans and corn|
1 cup chopped Spanish or yellow onion
1 cup fire roasted corn kernels - (Trader Joes frozen or freshly roasted over an open flame)
1 cup canned unsalted black beans (half a 14 oz can)
1 cup queso blanco (fresh mexican white cheese), cubed
2 cups yellow cheddar, shredded
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon taco seasoning ( I used Trader Joes brand, but any good brand will do)
1 small avocado, diced
Fresh Lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Cook the penne as per instructions on the box - 10 to 11 minutes in boiling water for al-dente. Drain and set aside to cool if not using immediately.
- In small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil and add the chopped onion. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes till the onion is just beginning to become translucent.
- Add the roasted corn, black beans and the taco seasoning. Toss well and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes till the flavors are mixed well. Set aside to cool if not using immediately.
- In a medium oven proof baking dish, add half the cooked pasta, followed by half the cheese cubes spread evenly and then half the black bean and corn mixture. Top with a cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Repeat the same with the remaining ingredients. Cover loosely with a foil and place the dish on a baking sheet.
- Bake in a pre-heated 375 F oven in the middle rack for 20 minutes, till the cheese has melted and everything has warmed up.
- Serve with chopped avocado drizzled with a little lemon juice as a garnish.
Serves 2 as a Main course