My grandmother makes the best macaroni and cheese. Whenever I couldn’t travel home for Thanksgiving or Easter, my little brother would – without fail – text me a picture of it. It’s sacrosanct. So here’s the crazy thing: I like this mac and cheese better. I feel awful saying it, but there it is.
I love the idea of cooking the pasta in milk instead of dirtying another pan with making a roux, but I hate babysitting the cooking pasta with constant stirring. Then, I had an idea: just turn the stove off! I’ve never seen a mac and cheese recipe quite like this: you just bring the milk almost to a boil, stir, cover the pot, and turn off the heat. I’ve made it several times without any curdling or grainy weirdness that so many homemade mac and cheese recipes can be prone to.
This recipe calls for the addition of mild green chilies, sweet corn, and a splash of salsa because I love creating recipes that take a children’s favorite and give it a slight twist to help introduce new flavors to little palates. It’s a great way to introduce the warmth of New Mexican cuisine in a kid-friendly way.
If you love spicy foods, you might want to add a little more green chiles. I used conchiglie pasta, a about a 1″ shell shape, to catch the sauce, but you can use whatever shape you prefer.