Ghost Peppers, also known as the Bhut Jolokia, are new to my garden this year. I have heard of them, and have feared them. Then my daughter went to one of our local farmers markets this spring and bought 2 of these demon pepper plants for me to plant.
Brief Ghost Pepper History
These peppers originated in India and have a Scoville rating of 1,001,304 units. Having said that I do believe there is more than 1 variety of Ghost Pepper so whether or not what I have is at that level on Scoville scale, I couldn’t be sure. But I’m sure it’s not too far off.
There has been talk of using these peppers on fences to keep elephants away in India as well as having medicinal uses for stomach ailments, although I think it would more likely rip your stomach apart. But, who knows what these little weapons might be capable of. I think I’ll just stick to finding ways to eat them.
Cooking With Ghost Peppers
It’s hard to imagine these cute pudgy looking peppers could be so potent.
But do not be fooled.
I finally got brave enough just to take one teensy little taste of one and my whole mouth was immediately on fire!
The only thing, I thought, that would make this edible to the human taste buds was to blend this in with a recipe that would tame it down a bit.
I already have a mac ‘n’ cheese recipe that I adapted from Pati Jinich’s Mac n Cheese Mexicano recipe, author of Pati’s Mexican Table. This recipe uses Poblano Peppers. So instead of using 2 or 3 Poblano Peppers, I thought I could start with just 1 Ghost Pepper and go from there.
One Ghost Pepper was perfect!
My daughter and I both loved it! Yes, I made her get involved in this experiment. After all she’s the one who brought these devil plants into this house in the first place.
This is a pretty versatile recipe. It incorporates the use of garden veggies too which I have done, or sometimes I just leave them out using only the peppers that flavor the milk.
So this is my Ghost Pepper version . . .
Cook and drain 1 pound”ish” of penne pasta. Or elbow macaroni if you prefer the more traditional look.
Take ONE of these little demon’s in disguise. If you’re into extreme heat . . . keep on addin’! Seed it and quarter it. Wear gloves! Put it in a blender with 3 cups milk. I used Almond Milk but whatever you normally use is fine.
Strain the milk and pepper combo and discard the pepper chunks. Your milk will now take on the “heat” and a little of the color of the pepper without the chunks.
In the pot you cooked the pasta in, melt 1/2 a stick unsalted butter and add 6 tablespoons flour. Stir and cook about 2 minutes to make a roux.
Add milk/pepper mixture whisking continuously till thickened about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
Take 1 cup grated Romano and 3 cups grated cheese of your choice. This time I used 2 1/2 cups grated chipotle cheddar and 1 cup grated fontina cheese . . .
and add the Romano and only 3 of the 3 1/2 cups of the remaining grated cheeses. Keeping 1/2 cup for the topping. Stir until melted and remove from heat.
Put a little Olive oil in a large skillet.
Saute one chopped onion till soft about 5 min.
Add a small to medium 1/2 pound”ish” chopped zucchini. I promise! It’s the last zucchini of the year! And 1/4 tsp salt. Stir together but remove from heat. Do not cook the zucchini. It will cook in the oven.
Combine the cheese sauce, pasta, and vegetables in the pasta pot and gently stir. Pour into a buttered baking dish. Mine is just slightly smaller than a 9×13.
Top with remaining grated cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Get ready to love this!
Ghost Pepper Mac ‘n’ Cheese
- 1 pound Penne Pasta
- 1 seeded and quartered Ghost Pepper (2 if you’re into extreme heat)
- 3 cups almond milk (it’s ok to use regular milk too)
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 6 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt or to taste, divided (just remember the cheese is salty)
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 3 cups grated cheese plus 1/2 cup more for topping. I used chipotle cheddar and fontina
- 1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
- 2 Tbsp EV Olive Oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 cup fresh sweet corn
- 1/2 lb chopped zucchini
Cook Pasta according to directions and drain.
Preheat oven to 400F and butter a baking dish. I use a dish just slightly smaller than a 9×13.
In a blender, puree Ghost Pepper and milk till smooth. Strain liquid in to a bowl to remove pepper pieces.
In a sauce pan, melt butter then add flour whisking into a roux for about 2 minutes.
Add milk mixture whisking till thickened for about 10 minutes. Add 3/4 tsp salt and pepper.
Add 3 cups grated chipotle cheddar and fontina and 1 cup grated romano. Stirring till melted and remove from heat.
In a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil and then add onions. Cook till onions are soft for about 5 minutes.
Add sweet corn and cook about 1 minute.
Add zucchini and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir together and remove from heat without cooking zucchini.
Combine Cheese sauce, pasta, and vegetables in pasta pot stirring gently.
Pour in to buttered baking dish.
Bake at 400F for about 25 to 30 minutes or till slightly browned and bubbly.
Enjoy!Print This Post
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