3-Chile Macaroni and Cheese

I made this a while back because I had been planning on making it right before it became clear that I had to go to Vancouver. Then, since it was the day before I was flying, I couldn’t eat, so I didn’t taunt myself by cooking something I wanted to have. So I came back to it once I got back. And then I wrote about half of it and forgot I’d started it, so it sat there for a couple days. And then my hosting expired but they had my old credit card on file, so the site disappeared for a day. Sorry about everything.

The recipe was inspired by Tracy Carolyn, although I changed it quite a bit, substituting the various dried peppers I had on hand for the ones she used, using two cheeses instead of one (and different ones), and omitting the corn. Honestly, I’d have enjoyed the corn, but Matt would have been put off, so whatever, sayonara, corn. I scraped the seeds out of my hot peppers since a) seeds in your macaroni and cheese are annoying, and b) I was worried it would be pretty spicy. While a) was still valid, b) was not, and I figure I could just as well have left them in for that. I also considered pureeing them before cooking, just so that there wouldn’t be bits of skin to chew on – and also because chopping them is kind of a drag and leaves an orange stain on your cutting board. I didn’t, but I recommend it for next time.

3-Chile Macaroni and Cheese

2 cups (-ish) macaroni
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 a red onion, diced
1 dried ancho pepper
1 dried guajillo pepper
1 dried chile de arbol
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cream
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated monterey jack cheese
1 tbsp butter

Toast the peppers in a dry skillet over medium heat, a couple minutes per side.
Turn off the heat and cover the peppers with water.
Leave them like that for half an hour.
When they’re nearly done, put the pasta on to cook, according to package directions.
When the chiles have finished soaking, drain them (keep the pan, though, you’ll need it in a minute), pull the stems off, and scrape the seeds out, or don’t, depending on how hot you want things to be. Then mince them.
Heat the olive oil in the pan over medium heat.
Saute the onion, garlic, and chiles for a couple of minutes.
Turn the heat off, then add the drained pasta.
Stir in the cheese and cream, ensuring the cheese melts and coats everything.
Add pepper to taste.
Melt the pat of butter into the mixture and stir it in once it melts.

You may want to increase the number of chiles, but in what combination I’ll leave up to you, as I’m not sure myself.

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