Believe it or not, the first time I got my hands on Hatch chiles was at the end of last summer. While I had heard of them for the longest time, there wasn’t a grocery store near me that carried them when they were in season. Then, after moving about 30 minutes away the year that my husband and I got married, I finally found a grocery store that went all-in on Hatch chile season! For a few weeks at the end of August and beginning of September, not only do they stock enormous piles of Hatch chiles in the store, but on the weekend, they roast them outside the front of the store, so you can buy them raw or roasted. It’s chile heaven!
I did my annual stock up last weekend and one of the first things I wanted to make was a fantastic macaroni and cheese loaded with Hatch chiles.
I’ve made what seems like a million different macaroni and cheese recipes; my very favorite is a simple béchamel sauce with cheese melted into it, a topping of melted butter and plain breadcrumbs, and the whole thing baked in the oven until the topping is browned and crisp. It’s simple, classic, and a perfect base for all sorts of different add-ins – including, of course, Hatch chiles!
They give this mac and cheese the perfect amount of spice, which I would classify as a “medium” on the mild-medium-hot scale of spiciness. If you can’t get your hands on Hatch chiles, you can substitute another green chile, such as poblanos or Anaheims.
Be prepared to want to eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner; it’s totally addicting and my husband and I polished off the whole pan in an embarrassingly short amount of time.
Four years ago: Traditional Pavlova
Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Wonderfully creamy macaroni and cheese made with seasonal Hatch chiles. Substitute poblano or Anaheim chiles if you can’t get Hatch chiles.
For the Macaroni and Cheese:
16 ounces cavatappi pasta (or shaped pasta of your choice)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups)
6 ounces smoked gouda cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups)
Salt and pepper, to taste
5 Hatch chiles, roasted, seeded and finely chopped
For the Topping:
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about ½ cup)
2 ounces smoked gouda cheese, shredded (about ½ cup)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Heat a large pot of water over high heat for the pasta; cover.
2. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook the pasta according to the box directions for al dente pasta (if your box doesn’t specify al dente, cook it for 1 to 2 minutes shorter than the time called for – it shouldn’t be cooked the whole way through). When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it in a colander.
3. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. In a large saucepan, melt the 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, until the flour starts to brown a bit and smells nutty, whisking constantly. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the milk. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer.
4. Once the sauce comes to a simmer, stir in 6 ounces each of the cheddar and gouda cheeses, adding a handful at a time and stirring with a wooden spoon until completely melted before adding the next handful. Season with salt and pepper and turn off the heat.
5. Add the cooked, drained pasta and Hatch chiles to the sauce. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is completely combined and evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
6. In a small bowl, mix the melted butter with the breadcrumbs.
7. Sprinkle the macaroni and cheese with the remaining shredded cheeses. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the cheese.
8. Bake until browned and bubbly, about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.