This is a Mexican take on macaroni and cheese, with chicken added for extra protein.
- 1 lb cavatelli or elbow macaroni
- 2 and 1/2 cups milk (fat-free works just as well as full fat here)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups Boar’s Head Bold 3 Pepper Colby Jack
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt or more to taste
- 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper or more to taste
- 3/4 lb chopped Boar’s Head Bold Chipotle Chicken (optional)
- 4 ounces of tortilla chips (about 40 chips)
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cook the pasta according to its package directions. If the pasta finishes cooking before everything else is ready to go, no worries. Drain it, return it to the pot and cover it. The pasta will be fine waiting there for a few minutes until everything else is ready.
- While the pasta cooks, measure the milk into a microwave-safe measuring cup. Warm it in the microwave until really steamy, 3-4 minutes. Put the tortilla chips into a resealable plastic bag. Remove the air from the bag, seal it and smash the chips until all pieces are smaller than 1/2″. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until it forms a smooth paste. Cook, stirring continuously, until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Splash in about 1/4 cup of the steamed milk and whisk until smooth. Add a little more milk and whisk, then a little more milk and whisk. One more time before drizzling in the remaining milk. Stir well. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Cook stirring continuously until the milk begins to bubble. Remove from the heat. Add the 3 Pepper Colby Jack. Stir until it has melted in and the sauce is an even orange color.
- Transfer the cooked pasta to a 9×13 inch baking pan or a large casserole dish. Pour on the sauce and add the chicken, if using. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the tortilla crumbs over top and bake until opening the oven door fills the kitchen with the smell of toasting corn chips and the sound of bubbling cheese, about 15-20 minutes. Top with the tomatoes and green onions before serving.
The above recipe was adapted from Mark Bittman’s more basic recipe for Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Heating the milk in the microwave to speed things up as well as all the South-Of-The-Border twists are my own.