Raise your hand if you, too, are excited about hatch chile season!
Why do I love hatch chiles? They’re sweeter and less bitter than most other peppers. They’re not overly spicy but the “hot” hatch chiles do have a nice amount of casual heat. And at $.48/lb this week, I’ll be spending my Saturday roasting and stocking the freezer for the upcoming year. Because nothing makes me happier than being able to whip up a hatch & pepperoni pizza. In February.
We’ve got several new hatch chile recipes lined up over the next couple of weeks but we’re starting with possibly the best one. And by possibly, I mean we’ve had Hatch Chile Macaroni & Cheese twice this week. Once, with leftover shredded chicken. And the second time, I added bacon.
All in the name of more protein. (Which is really the only excuse one ever needs for more bacon, if an excuse is actually needed.)
Pasta coated with a creamy white cheese sauce is the perfect vehicle for the sweet and smokey hatch chiles. We make our stovetop mac & cheese a little differently than most – we use fat-free Greek yogurt (adds protein and tanginess), some of the starchy pasta water (helps create the smooth sauce), and a combination of just about any cheese (one easy melting and one not) that we – or you – like.
You can read more about it here. Or you can just blindly follow the recipe below. I think you’ll be happy with your bowl of cheesy, creamy, spicy comfort either way.
Hatch Chile and Bacon Mac & Cheese
A stove top macaroni & cheese crafted just for hatch chile season. Make it while you can!
- 8 oz pasta
- 4 oz white American cheese, shredded*
- 4 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded*
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use 0% Fage)
- 3 slices of bacon, cooked to a crisp
- 4-5 hatch chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped (directions here)
- Black pepper
- *Do not use pre-shredded cheese. You can use as much as 5-6 oz Monterrey Jack and as little as 2-3oz American cheese and still get a nice, smooth sauce.
- Bring salted water to boil and add pasta, cooking according to package directions.
- While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, shred the cheese, chop your chiles, and measure out the yogurt.
- Before draining the pasta, dip a 1-cup measuring cup into the pot and pull out a full cup of the boiling pasta water - this is important. If you think you'll forget, put your measuring cup in the strainer when you put it in the sink - always a good way to remind yourself before you lose the water.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- Immediately add 1/2 cup of the pasta water, the yogurt and 1/3 of the cheese, stirring until the cheese has mostly melted.
- Add the remaining cheese in two batches, stirring until the cheese has melted into a smooth sauce. Add additional splashes of water as necessary to keep the sauce thin and the cheese hot (I usually have anywhere from 2-4Tbsp of pasta water left).
- Add the chiles, bacon, and black pepper, stirring until evenly distributed.
- Serve immediately.
Yields: 3-4 generous servings
Estimated time: 30 minutes