Here at Tuck & Tate, we love ourselves some mac and cheese. We aren’t here to judge the traditional boxed variety, after all there is no bad mac and cheese, but the homemade stuff is just far and away better than anything you’ll find in the center aisle of the grocery store. With just a little bit of extra effort, you can take an ordinary dish and make it very special. We are putting a spin our favorite dish and making it festive for fall by kicking it up with some hatch chiles.
Living in Colorado, hatch chile season is a big deal from mid August through October. A traditional hatch chile is grown in Hatch, New Mexico, but there are a number of varieties on the market as they have become more popular. They make a great addition to many fall dishes because they range in flavor from almost sweet to very smoky and spicy.
Hatch chiles can be purchased raw or roasted. Purchasing them roasted can save you some time making this dish, particularly if you don’t have a grill available. They can usually be found at a number of farmers markets in the southwest during the fall, but are usually available for a longer part of the year in the freezer section at your local grocery store. If you are using the frozen chiles, bring back to room temperature and make sure the chiles have the skin, seeds, and stem removed just as you do in the recipe below.
Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese
Makes: 8 servings
- 1 lb fusilli pasta
- ⅓ lb (2 cups shredded) gouda cheese
- ¾ lb (4.5 cups shredded) sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 tbs butter
- 4 tbs flour
- 1 quart (4 cups) 2% milk
- 2 lbs hatch chiles, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Directions For Chiles:
- Start by roasting the chiles if you did not buy them pre-roasted. You can roast them on a grill, if available, or over an open flame on your stove top. Turn your grill to medium high heat. Spray the chiles with cooking spray and grill 4-5 minutes on each side until charred black.
- When cool enough to touch, peel the outside layer of charred skin away, remove the seeds and stem, and dice.
- This can be done ahead of time, even the night before.
Directions for Mac and Cheese:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Remove skin and seeds from the chiles and dice into bite sized pieces
- Grate the gouda and the cheddar cheeses. Set aside ½ cup of cheddar cheese.
- In a large soup pot or stock pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil
- Cook the pasta until it is al dente (firm). Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water and set aside
- In the same pot, turn the heat to medium/high and melt the butter
- Once melted, add the flour and whisk until combined. The consistency will be similar to a paste.
- While whisking, slowly add the milk to the pot one cup at a time. Make sure that the milk is fully absorbed by the rue so that the rue does not become lumpy
- Let the milk mixture come to simmer and lower to medium heat. Add the gouda and 4 cups of cheddar cheese in three parts – whisking until fully combined as you did with the flour and milk mixture.
- Once the cheese is fully melted, remove the pot from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the chopped chiles and the pasta until the pasta is fully coated with the cheese sauce
- Pour the pasta and cheese sauce into a 9X11 inch baking dish
- Spread the remaining cheese over the top of the pasta, cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes
- Remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly
- Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving