Roasted Hatch Chile Mac ‘N’ Cheese
By Chef Tom Fraker

If you don’t have foil loaf pans, use other small baking dishes.

1 16-ounce box cavatappi or macaroni pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (½ cup)
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup crema or crème fraîche
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups preshredded cheddar-Jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
2 cups preshredded Gouda cheese (about 8 ounces)
teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
Freshly ground white pepper
4 fresh Hatch Chile Peppers, charred, peeled, stems and seeds removed, finely diced
¾ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon oil to keep pasta from sticking.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Coat insides of 6 (6x2-inch) foil loaf pans with cooking spray.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour until a smooth paste is formed, about 3 minutes. Whisk in milk, crema, and nutmeg until smooth; whisk in cheeses until completely melted. Whisk in 1 teaspoon paprika; whisk in salt and white pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Add pasta and Hatch Pepper to cheese mixture; toss together. Pour evenly into prepared pans.

In a bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining ½ teaspoon paprika, and breadcrumbs; stir in salt to taste.

Sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture.

Bake at 350°F until bubbly and lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. Serve.

Prep Time: 25 min. / Total Time: 1 hr. 15 min.

Serves: 12 (1¼ cups)

Recipe from The Great Pepper Cookbook (modified poblano mac 'n' cheese)