Mac and Cheese
YIELD: 4 servings
TIME: 45 minutes
1 cup raw cashews
1 pound russet potatoes (about 3 medium), scrubbed and roughly chopped
3 ounces carrot (1 medium), scrubbed and roughly chopped
10 ounces elbow macaroni (about 2 ½ cups)
10 ounces poblano (or pasilla) peppers (2 medium)
1 medium jalapeño (optional)
⅓ cup nutritional yeast
Add the cashews to a small bowl and cover with hot tap water to soak for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine the potatoes and carrot in a medium pot with 4 cups water, salt liberally, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the vegetables are fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Reserve 1½ cups of the cooking liquid, then drain.
While the potatoes and carrots cook, bring 8 cups water in a medium pot to a boil over high. Salt liberally, add the elbow pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot.
While the potatoes and pasta cook, char the chiles: Place the poblano chiles and jalapeño, if using, directly on the grate of a gas burner and turn the heat to high. Cook, using heatproof tongs to turn the chiles so they blister and blacken on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Remove the stems and seeds and discard, then slice the chiles and set aside a few for garnish.
Working in batches if necessary, blend the potatoes, carrot, cashews, chiles, nutritional yeast and the reserved potato cooking water until smooth. Taste and season with salt. Add the sauce to the pasta and stir to coat. Turn the heat to low and let sit for about 5 minutes so the pasta absorbs some of the sauce. Serve hot, garnished with the reserved chiles.