This spicy Hatch chile macaroni and cheese recipe has hatch chiles, pepper jack, cheddar, cayenne pepper, and a small amount of Velveeta added for creaminess. Instructions are included in the recipe notes to make this a gluten-free dish.
Shred the Cheese
This recipe uses three kinds of cheese to make the sauce: cheddar, pepper jack, and Velveeta. It is very tempting to use bagged pre-shredded cheese but for the best taste, try grating your own cheese!
Advantages of Shredding Cheese Yourself
There are a couple of advantages other than taste to consider. For one, blocks of cheese usually offer cost savings over bagged cheese. Another reason to grate your own cheese is to avoid the cellulose added to prevent clumping and mold growth because cellulose can hinder cheese from melting smoothly. This is usually not a problem with freshly grated cheese.
How to Make the Sauce for Hatch Chile Macaroni and Cheese
This recipe uses a cheese sauce as a base which consists of adding flour to melted butter to make a roux. Then add the milk and dissolve the flour. These two tips are helpful for making this sauce:
- Whisk any lumps in the flour and milk mixture to make a smooth sauce.
- Save at least two cups of pasta water for thinning the sauce. If you forget and drain it, you can always use water; however, the pasta water will give the sauce more flavor, help thicken the sauce, and help the sauce stick to the pasta.
Add a Topping to Your Hatch Chile Macaroni and Cheese
This macaroni and cheese dish is garnished with a buttery topping and then baked. The topping is easy to make and contains crushed Chex Rice cereal because it maintains a crunchy taste when baked. You can substitute panko for crushed Chex unless you are making a gluten-free dish. Follow these tricks for crushing the cereal:
- Place Chex cereal and cayenne pepper in a resealable bag.
- Squeeze out all of the air in the bag.
- Use a rolling pin to crush it.
This macaroni and cheese dish contains gluten from the pasta and flour in the sauce. However, you can make this pasta dish gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta. I have tried a lot of gluten-free pasta, and some hold up better than others when boiled in water. I have found that Barilla Gluten Free Elbows maintain their shape in boiling water and taste similar to regular pasta. In addition, they are more readily available in grocery stores.
Reheating Hatch Chile Macaroni and Cheese
There is a trick to reheating macaroni and cheese. Add milk and stir and then heat it in a microwave. Or, to reheat on the stovetop, add leftover macaroni to a saucepan with a large splash of milk. Stir and heat on low. If you love cheese and don’t want the extra milk to alter the cheesy taste, add a small amount of cheese before heating. I prefer microwave and stovetop heating methods to oven heating because oven heating tends to dry out leftover macaroni.
Other Pasta Recipes You Might Like
If you like this macaroni recipe, you might enjoy trying these other pasta recipes. Click on each name to link to the recipe.