Have you ever stood in the pasta aisle at your grocery store and noticed they carry 4-5 different brands of spaghetti or farfalle? Then they’ve got capellini, fettuccini, linguine, orecchiette, penne, orzo, and then you get down to the bottom shelf and there are the egg noodles. But where are the large elbow macaroni? Small elbows, check. Large elbows? Nope. When did the large elbow fall out of favor? Did it get pushed out by the whole wheat and rice pasta?
Something about the large elbow says this is basic, old fashioned American cooking. Nothing fancy here, just good tasting chow, you know? And so, for me the large elbow is key to both my mac and cheese and goulash (you know, the noodles, ground beef and tomato sauce/paste/ready-cuts sort – some call it American chop suey, others Johnny Marzetti). But if you too live in an area without love for the large elbow mac, here are two options.
1. Galletti — It looks like an elbow macaroni with a ruffle, galletti meaning “rooster” and referring to a rooster’s comb. I picked it up at Grocery Outlet awhile ago and I have to think it came from Canada or the UK, because I’ve never seen it otherwise on the shelves States-side.
2. Pipe rigate (also called lumache or chiocciole) — A sort of snail-shell shaped noodle, which will be perfect for catching and trapping the cheese sauce in mac and cheese. Whole Foods carries it in their 365 brand and PCC markets in Seattle carry Bionaturae chiocciole.
So let’s get to the mac and cheese — made with the galletti. 🙂 This mac and cheese with Hatch chiles and Beecher’s flagship cheese may very well replace the standard cheddar version around our house. From a recipe perspective, it’s fairly standard, the twist is that I add some of the chopped chiles to the bechamel sauce while it’s thickening to infuse it with the flavor of the chiles. I haven’t tried doing this with canned chiles, so I can’t say how the taste compares or how the result comes out (the canned variety is also chopped much finer).
Hatch Chile Mac and CheesePrint Recipe
- 1 lb. large elbow macaroni
- 7 T. butter
- 1/4 c. + 2 T. all purpose flour
- 4 c. non-fat milk (use 2% or whole if you like)
- 1/4 t. dried mustard
- 1 pinch of cayenne
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 lb. Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2 in. pieces (~1 1/2 c. chiles)
- 3 c. Beecher's flagship cheese (or good white cheddar)
- 1 c. parmesan, divided
- 1 c. dried breadcrumbs (I make mine at home, use less if you're using the finely ground ones)
- Non-stick vegetable spray
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a dutch oven or large soup pot, cook pasta according to package directions, with a good handful of salt, reducing cook time by 1-2 minutes. Drain pasta.
Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick vegetable spray. Pour pasta into the pan and set aside. Place all but 1/4 c. of the chiles on top of the noodles in an even layer. In a small bowl, mix together breadcrumbs and 1/2 c. parmesan cheese.
In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over low heat. Add the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes until the floury-ness is gone. Whisking, add the milk in a stream and turn the heat up to medium. Add the mustard, cayenne, salt and remaining chiles. Bring just to a boil, whisking frequently. Cook for 2-3 minutes more until the sauce is thickened.
Remove from the heat and stir in the Beecher's and 1/2 c. parmesan cheese. Salt to taste.
Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles. Top with breadcrumb mixture and bake for 30 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and breadcrumbs are browned.
Adapted from Epicurious