Homemade macaroni and cheese is the only way to go in my household. There’s never been a blue box in my kitchen because I can make the good stuff almost as easy from scratch. Delicious macaroni and cheese is quick and easy and takes only a few ingredients, and this time around I thought it would be tasty fun to add a little kick from some canned green chilies and tangy white cheddar cheese. Traditional cheddar cheese has always been part of my recipe, but white cheddar adds a different taste, one that mellows out when melted and combined with cooked pasta.
When I was a kid my mom would make casseroles of macaroni and cheese that were layered with shredded cheeses, macaroni and dotted with butter. She usually baked it in the oven and the sauce was never prepared on the stove top ahead of time. My recipe is different in that the entire thing is made in one pot on the stove top. I usually cook my pasta first, reserving one cup of pasta liquid and then, reuse the same vessel to make the sauce and assemble the dish, which makes for easier clean up. If there’s one thing I am, it’s a clean cook. I don’t like a huge mess to clean up after mealtime.
The flavors are decadently subtle in this macaroni and cheese because I used mild green chilies. If you want to really spice things up, use the medium or hot chilies, just warn your family and friends ahead of time. You can serve this meal from the pot or pour it into a serving dish and place it directly on the table. A fresh green salad is nice served alongside.
1 pound pasta shells, medium size
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon or brown mustard
7 ounces diced green chilies, any variety
pinch of black pepper
In a large pot, boil pasta shells or 9 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta liquid and drain. Set aside.
In same pot, add butter and place over medium heat. When melted, add flour and salt, whisk. Cook for 1 minute and add milk. Continue to whisk until smooth and thickened. Add cream and stir.
Add cheeses and stir until smooth. Add mustard and green chilies, stir. Thin with reserved pasta water if necessary. Turn off heat and add cooked pasta and stir. Spoon into serving bowl. Sprinkle with black pepper and parsley, if desired. Enjoy!