This classic dish borrows Mexican flavors from spicy chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. Chipotle chiles are dry, smoked jalapeños found in cans or jars in the Mexican food section of most supermarkets. We used cavatappi - spiral, tube-shaped pasta - but you can substitute any short pasta.
1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 drained canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped
8 cups hot cooked cavatappi (about 5 cups uncooked pasta)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place bread in a food processor, pulse until coarse crumbs form to measure 1/2 cup; set aside.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour in a large saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer mixture for 2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons Parmesan and the next 5 ingredients (2 tablespoons Parmesan through chipotle chiles), stirring until cheese melts. Combine cheese sauce, pasta, onions, and tomatoes in a bowl.
Spoon the mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine 2 tablespoons remaining Parmesan and breadcrumbs; sprinkle over pasta mixture. Cover and bake at 375° for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until mixture is bubbly.
Note: To make ahead, assemble casserole as directed, but stop before adding breadcrumb topping. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature; sprinkle with breadcrumb topping, and bake as directed.
I was very disappointed with this recipe when I made it as written. The sauce to macaroni ratio is off--not enough sauce. And despite the chipotles, it wasn't very flavorful.
So I tried it again, this time using half as much pasta (2.5 cups uncooked), tossing in an additional chipotle and adding a couple spoonfuls of the adobo sauce that the chipotles came in. The result was better, a nice amount of heat and a more distinct flavor than before.
The sauce is not very cheesy, but then this is Cooking Light, so being stingy with cheese makes sense.
It is hard to believe that no one has rated this recipe. I have made this dish so many times since it came out a few years ago. This is one of our favorite recipes, sometimes I have added chicken, asparagus, and up the amount of chilis to make it a little spicier.
Eat Well. Lose Weight. Live Healthy. Delicious and healthy recipes customized for you!