Hatch Chile & Bacon Mac and Cheese is an easy dish that combines smoky bacon, creamy Gruyere with a rich cream that finishes with a subtle heat.
For the last few years, hatch chiles have really gotten popular. I hadn’t tried them, but last year I swore when they came out this year, I was going to. There is such a short window when these chiles are available, so I was pretty excited when I saw them in the grocery store.
The employee in the produce section told me that there wasn’t much of a difference between the hot and regular hatch chiles. That was a big ole fat lie! I roasted up all of the hot hatch chiles, until blackened and blistered, on the grill, and then let them sit in a zip lock plastic bag to steam. When they had cooled enough to handle, approximately 15 minutes, I started removing the skins. The aroma from those babies sucked the breath straight from my lungs. I had a coughing fit that I wondered if I would ever recover from. Thank goodness, I bought some of the regular ones too, and back to roasting I went.
This dish is creamy, smokey and delicious with a hint of subtle heat in the end. I served it as a side to steak, but I could have just eaten it straight from the pan! As you can see, the recipe explains how to toast the Panko bread crumbs that this dish is topped with. They didn’t make it into the picture, but I highly recommend that you don’t skip this step. They add just the right amount of crunch to an already perfect dish.
- 1 lb Cavatappi pasta cooked al dente. Retain 1/2 cup pasta water
- 12 oz Gruyere or Wisconsin Grand Cru Alpine-style cheese, rind removed and grated
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 3/4 cup diced roasted Hatch chiles skinned seeded and ribs removed
- 1/2 pound thick smoked bacon fried crisp and drained
- 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
- 6 teaspoons butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, bring cream to a boil. Continue boiling until reduced in half.
- Stir in cheese, bacon, chiles and cooked pasta. Add 1/4 cup pasta water, and stir until cheese is melted and smooth. Add more pasta water if necessary. Cover and remove from heat.
- In another skillet, melt butter and stir in Panko bread crumbs. Stir continuously until browned.
- Garnish pasta with toasted Panko bread crumbs and serve immediately.
Adapted from Chef Michael Symon Bacon Mac & Cheese
I got 10 servings when I served this dish as a side. You can get 4 to 6 if serving as a main dish. Also, you can use any pasta, but the Cavatappi has little ridges that hold onto the sauce. It also holds its shape as a firmer pasta. Lastly, do not add oil to your pasta water. That oil will fill those ridges and keep them from holding on to that amazing sauce.