The alternate title for this post should be My Official Application for “Most Eligible San Antonio.” Kidding. Mostly. Bravo, are you casting?
In all seriousness though, folks, this is the most indulgent, rich, sinful dish I’ve made recently. It’s creamy, starchy, savory and spicy all at once.
I used roasted Hatch chilies I purchased several weeks ago when they were available at my grocer. I bought a pound of roasted chilies (HEB & Central Market roast them on the spot for you during the special week of the year when Hatches are available) and separated the chilies into four 1/4 lb batches before freezing.
If you don’t have magical roasted Hatch chilies in your freezer, fresh poblanos will work well. Just put them in the oven to roast at 450 for 30-45 mins or until they are nice and blackened. I used a 1/4 lb of roasted chilies, and it produces a pretty spicy finished recipe. If you are less adventurous or serving this to kiddos, I would cut that back by half.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk
32oz Velveeta (don’t judge me!)
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1 lb elbow macaroni (I use cavatappi which is my favorite pasta shape)
In a large pot of very salty water, cook the pasta according to package directions (I always shave 1/4 of the time off, since this will bake for a bit and you want the pasta to stay al dente. This also helps it stand up through a few reheatings of the leftovers).
Using a food processor or blender, puree the roasted chilies (seeds and all) until it is a smooth paste.
Over medium high heat, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour. Stir or whisk continuously for 3 minutes till it forms a thick paste. Keep it moving, or it will burn. It’s ok if it darkens a bit and gets yummy/toasty smelling, but you don’t want your roux to get dark brown. Slowly whisk in the milk (I find this goes better if the milk is room temperature). Add in the Velveeta a little bit at a time, stirring frequently.
Once all the Velveeta is all melted, fold in the chili puree. Add the cooked pasta and stir to incorporate well.
Ok – so you could totally eat this now, and it would be tasty…. but I like to pour it into a baking dish (this recipe yields one 9×12 and one 9×9) top with shredded cheddar and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
While not exactly good for you in a nutritional sense, I like to think that this dish nourishes your soul. Sometimes you need a little of that.