Cubano Mac and Cheese
When you have a big, fat Cuban family, you are aware that it takes a lot to not just feed, but satisfy them. With Easter on the way, I’m already planning a super satisfying brunch menu. Then again, what does satisfying look like?
Here’s how my thinking went…
I need to make something ‘satisfying.’ What implies ‘satisfying’ and filling, but also comforting. And Cuban. Let’s not forget Cuban.
I had a list of things I could make. Primarily what came to mind was a good Cubano Sandwich: Ham, pork, cheese, and pickles grilled on Cuban bread. (It’s possible I could just be having a craving, but that’s not important right now.) I had to think long and hard. Would that be a good complement to our Easter brunch? I was this close to just making some straight-up-old-school Cubanos and calling it good. But we’re talking about Easter. And Brunch. And I knew I could take it up a notch. And with the help of my friends at Cacique®, that’s exactly what happened.
Like good ideas often do, it struck me like lightning. What if I made a nice, comforting and seriously satisfying Mac and Cheese A LO CUBANO??
Like, a Cuban Sandwich. But in Mac and Cheese form. Are you beginning to see the genius of this? To the kitchen we go!
So, once I decided that this would be an awesome Easter Brunch addition, I had to come up with just the right ratio of ingredients to make it happen. First of all, I knew that the traditional swiss cheese used in a Cubano sandwich wouldn’t work like I wanted in the mac and cheese, so I opted for the delicious Cacique® Oaxaca Cheese, which would give me just the right amount of flavor and meltiness.
I decided to use fresh baguette bread crumbs because, from where I live, I have to travel through multiple area codes to procure Cuban bread. *le sigh* Also, I happen to like my breadcrumbs super fresh, and a little bit thicker than fine breadcrumbs to add a nice bready texture to the dish. Because Cubano!
In keeping with trying to maintain the traditional Cubano taste, I included dry mustard (instead of regular) and believe it or not I went ahead and added the bread and butter pickles because they would add that little bit of kick that pickles add to a regular Cubano without overpowering the delicious mac and cheese meltiness. (Who’s in charge of making up words? I think this is a good one.)
Then I knew I would want a shredded cheese topping that would not just melt, but also brown slightly. Enter Cacique® Four Quesos Blend Shredded Cheeses. I feel like I should go ahead and take a bow right now.
Drum roll, please…
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