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Green Chili Mac and Cheese

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Ingredients

  • 10 ounces of elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • One 4.5-ounce can of diced mild green chile juice included
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup of half-and-half
  • 1/4 wedge of a yellow onion
  • 2 large cloves of garlic peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon of iodized salt
  • 1 3/4 cups of shredded Monterey Jack cheese set aside 1/4 cup for later
  • 1 3/4 cups of shredded mild cheddar cheese again, set aside 1/4 cup
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Prep the Pasta: Boil the elbow macaroni according to package instructions but cut the cooking time short by 2-3 minutes for a firmer texture. Drain and set it back into the original pot.
  • Green Chile Base: In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the diced green chile—juices and all—and let the flavors meld together for a minute on medium heat.
  • Roux Time: Sprinkle flour over the butter and green chile mix. Stir it around to create a thick paste. This is your roux.
  • Milk Magic: Slowly pour in whole milk and half-and-half while whisking to keep things smooth. Now’s a good time to add that teaspoon of iodized salt.
  • Infuse the Flavors: Plop the onion wedge and smashed garlic into the sauce. Allow the sauce to thicken until it can coat the back of a spoon. This usually takes between 5 to 10 minutes. Discard the onion and garlic after.
  • Cheesy Goodness: Add in 1 1/2 cups each of the Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses. Keep stirring until everything has melted into a creamy cheese sauce.
  • Finishing Touch: Stir in that chopped cilantro for a burst of fresh flavor.
  • Mix and Match: Pour this glorious sauce over your partially-cooked macaroni. Mix well to ensure each piece of pasta is well-coated.
  • Bake and Broil: Transfer this mixture into an 8×8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese on top. Position your oven rack on the topmost layer, set the broiler on, and let that cheese bubble into a golden crust.

Notes

  • For those who love an extra kick, feel free to swap out mild cheddar for sharp, or use a spicy green chile variety.
  • You can make the sauce a day ahead and simply reheat it when you’re ready to assemble.

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