This Hatch Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese is smooth, creamy and flavorful with the subtle bite of Hatch Green Chiles.
I’ve mentioned on these pages that my first introduction to chiles in Colorado were Jalapeño and I kept my distance. I’ve had a lifetime aversion to green bell peppers and moving to Colorado meant being introduced to a wide variety of green peppers and I presumed that my disdain was necessary for all of them and it would only be multiplied if they were hot.
I spent over thirty years living in the Midwest and South; neither of them known for having a culture that included foods with ‘heat’ so I had quite the learning trajectory. Over the years I did learn though and now I love a wide variety of peppers from jalapeño to poblano to serrano and in the past several years the list has grown to include the peppers from Hatch, New Mexico. Still, no green bell peppers for me; nope, that will NEVER change!
Chiles grown in and around Hatch, New Mexico, are called Hatch chiles, but no one type of chile is specific to that area. The peppers grown in the valley, and along the entire Rio Grande, from northern Taos Pueblo to southern Isleta Pueblo, are a signature crop to New Mexico’s economy and culture.The chile pepper is also New Mexico’s state vegetable.
The New Mexico green chile pepper flavor has been described as lightly pungent similar to an onion, or like garlic with a subtly sweet, spicy, crisp, and smoky taste. When ripened, the red pepper retains the flavor but adds an earthiness and bite while aging mellows the front-heat and delivers more of a back-heat. The spiciness depends on the variety of New Mexico chile peppers. I get a bushel full roasted every year at a roadside stand and varieties aren’t mentioned, simply Hot, Medium, or Mild. I’m a Medium!
A full bushel will equal about 12 lbs of roasted chiles so I package and freeze about half of that and neighbors eagerly buy the remaining ones. Someone asked what I did with them and the list was easy and endless. Add to scrambled eggs, salsa, chicken dishes, salad dressings, pork marinade, and more. For me, I NEED to make this Chile Relleno Casserole; it is simply amazing. I first tried this a bazillion years ago at a Broncos football game and that activity remains a perfect time to offer it to guests.
If they are not offered in your area; simply find a green chile with medium heat, an Anaheim or Poblano for instance. Roasting them is easy…either set them directly on top of a burner on a gas stovetop, under the broiler element inside your stove (watch carefully!) or on top of the grate of a gas grill and char them all over. After they’re charred, remove them and put them into a plastic bag and zip it or tie it up tightly to allow the steam and heat to loosen the outer charred membrane. Once they’ve cooled, it’s easy to clean off the char, cut them open and clean out the seeds before using. Or keep the seeds if you want to up the heat quotient…but be careful!
This recipe is one I’ve had for so long I don’t know where it came from; I think a neighbor must have shared it with me when I lived in North Carolina. It’s simple but a great blend of ingredients (and I usually double it too…it disappears!). It is super cheesy, what my kids used to call ‘goopy’ mac and cheese and we like it that way. If you like a drier version; just bake it longer and add the bread crumbs halfway through baking. For my version, I made the crumbs separately and spoon them on top after it’s baked in the oven; I love the contrast of texture between the smooth creamy Hatch Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese and the super crunchy topping. Absolute perfection!
If you LOVE mac and cheese like I do; try this Smoky Gouda with Bacon version sometime too. It’s equally delicious.
Hatch Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese
1 hr 5 mins
- 3/4 sleeve coarsely crumbled crackers (Ritz style)
- 1 Tbsp Butter
For Macaroni and Cheese
- 3 cups uncooked macaroni
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 10 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 8-10 oz. Mexican Shredded cheese (grated)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Hatch Green Chiles, roasted and cleaned
- Salt and pepper to taste
To make the crumb topping, melt the butter in a medium saucepan until melted. Add the crumbs and cook on medium heat until just toasted; 4-5 minutes.
Cook macaroni as directed until just al dente; drain and set aside.
Lightly grease the inside of an oven proof baking dish.
Beat eggs until combined and add milk, ricotta cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise and Mexican cheese blend and stir until thoroughly combined. Add macaroni and chopped Hatch green chiles and mix until well blended.
Pour mixture into the baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. (See Notes)
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Let stand 5 minutes. Top with the toasted bread crumbs and serve.
The amount of Hatch chiles varies depending on the heat of your chiles and your taste. I liked mine with a lot of them but cooked this recipe with a minimal amount to insure it would satisfy all palates and then served it with a a bowl of chopped chiles on the side for those who wanted a stronger flavor.
We also like our mac and cheese to be saucy but if you prefer yours firmer; bake an additional 30 minutes.