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What's For Dinner is a community diary on Saturday evenings about 7:30 pm EST where cyber friends get together and discuss food and share recipes. Pull your chair up to the table and leave politics at the door. Pour yourselves a drink and relax.
One of my best childhood memories about growing up in the Southwest in El Paso, on the tip of the New Mexico border and the Texas border, was the annual Hatch Chile Festival in Hatch, New Mexico. My mother would pack my two brothers and I into the Mazda van, and we'd drive over to Hatch to see the green chiles being roasted and to buy a whole case of roasted Hatch chilies that we would use throughout the year back in El Paso.

My mother would make green chile cheese quesadillas, green chile enchiladas, posole with green chilies, green chile rice, and there was one dish that she'd never made with me growing up. That would be Hatch green chile macaroni and cheese.

There's something about the spicy bite of the green chile mixed in among the luscious melted cheese and toasted breadcrumbs that elevates macaroni and cheese to a whole new level. I am sharing that recipe I found, which is a variation of Ina Garten's Mac and Cheese, and made in Austin a couple of years ago with you.

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Panko breadcrumbs to cover the entire dish
4 roasted Hatch chiles, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir the chopped chilies into the macaroni well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the panko crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

This is an incredibly rich dish, and one that is perfect for the coming fall. In October, I always make this dish once the weather gets a bit cold. It's the right dish for colder climates :-) And now I'd like to hear from you guys; have you ever used Hatch green chilies, and what were your favorite recipes you've used them in?

Originally posted to What's for Dinner on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 04:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by New Mexico Kossaks.

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