You can bake this dish in a 2-quart casserole, but sometimes individual casseroles are more fun. This recipe gets a nice punch from Mexican flavors like tomatillos and jalapenos.
|1 pound tomatillos, husked and quartered||2 teaspoons ground cumin|
|6 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces||coarse or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste|
|3 cloves garlic, peeled||1/4 cup all-purpose flour|
|1 jalapeno, halved lengthwise and seeded||3 cups chicken broth|
|3 tablespoons olive, vegetable or canola oil, divided||4 cups shredded cooked pork or chicken|
|1 teaspoon salt||1 cup sour cream|
|1 cup cilantro leaves||2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese|
|juice of 1 lime||1 pound penne rigate, gemelli or other chunky pasta|
|1 onion, chopped||chopped tomatoes and cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)|
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Lightly spray a 2-quart casserole or four 2-cup casseroles (alternatively: six large ramekins) with cooking spray.
Lightly spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place the tomatillos, scallions, garlic, and jalapeno on the baking sheet. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Transfer the roasted vegetables and any juices on the bottom of the baking sheet to a food processor or blender. Add the salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse the mixture until well combined but still chunky. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cumin, salt and pepper, and sauté for 3 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Whisk in the flour and cook for 3 more minutes until the mixture is starting to brown. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, whisking frequently, until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the pork or chicken, roasted tomatillo mixture, sour cream and half the grated cheese.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and cook the pasta according to package directions, until just tender.
Turn the mixture into the prepared casseroles, and sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly on the tops of each. Bake for 20 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and the cheese is beautifully melted. Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and/or cilantro if desired, and serve hot.
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