This recipe has to be one of my favorite recipe mashups! Mexican street corn or “elote” is typically grilled corn that has been covered in mayonnaise and sprinkled with cotija cheese, chili powder, and lime juice. As it has become popularized, there have been some delicious renditions including a spicy Cheetos version. Who knew corn could be this delicious. I wanted to capture the cheesy corn goodness in street corn and mash it with an American classic, Mac and cheese.
This recipe only takes one pan to make the sauce. First cook your pasta. You can do this while you make the sauce or before. Up to you! I use 1 box of pasta or about 3 cups of dry pasta. I boil my pasta in 8 cups of hot, salty water until tender and drain. For this recipe, you do NOT need any of the pasta water. This recipe is also easily modified to be gluten free! Just use gluten free pasta.
In your same pot you cooked your pasta, or a skillet (it does not matter), add 1 tbsp of butter and melt on medium to high heat. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic. Next, toss in your diced onion and jalapeño and sauté for about 1 minute, until it is all fragrant. Add in 1 can of corn and stir.
Season your corn with salt, pepper, and paprika. Add in 1 1/2-2 cups heavy cream. Stir until all combined. Now, once the heavy cream begins to just slightly simmer, shut off the heat completely. Now it is time to add our cheese. We do not want to add the cheese when it is too hot.
Add in 2 1/2 cups of shredded cheese. I used Oaxaca and Mozzarella. Oaxaca is a creamy, mozzarella-like cheese you can find in most commercial grocery stores, but if not, a lot of Mexican Markets have a section. It is hands-down on of my favorite cheeses. If you cannot find it, mozzarella alone is great! Stir the cheese in. You will notice the sauce will start to get thick!
Toss in your pasta and stir completely. Once all the noodles are coated, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese. This will take your pasta to the NEXT level!
Garnish with some fresh cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, paprika, and lime! Enjoy!
Easy Mexican Street Corn “Elote” Inspired Mac and Cheese
- 3 Cups Dry Pasta or 1 box Pasta of Choice (Can be GF)
- 1 Heaping Tbsp Minced Garlic
- 2 Diced Jalapeno
- 1/2 Diced Onion
- 1 Can Corn Drained
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Tsp Each: Salt, Pepper, Paprika
- 1 1/2-2 Cups Heavy Cream
- 4 Cups Shredded Cheese (Oaxaca and/or Mozzarella)
- Cotija Cheese
- Cook pasta according to instructions.
- Remove and set aside.
- In the same pot or separate skillet, heat up 1 tbsp butter on medium to high heat.
- Saute garlic, onion, and jalapeno for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add in canned corn. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Pour in heavy cream. Stir thoroughly.
- Once the heavy cream begins to simmer, shut off the heat.
- add a little over half 2 1/2 cups of your shredded cheese. Mix in until sauce becomes thick. If the heat is too hot, the cheese will separate from the heavy cream. You need to make sure the heat is completely off for this part.
- Toss in your pasta and coat it evenly with the cheesy sauce. Then add the remaining shredded cheese. This will lead to LOTs of cheese pulls!
- Place into bowl and serve immediately. Optional is to garnish with cotija cheese, cilantro, lime, and paprika.