|Cheddar and Chile Sauce|
1. In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat; whisk in milk. Return to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly; mixture will thicken. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in salt, hot pepper sauce, and cumin (if used).
2. Remove pan from heat; add cheese, pimiento, green chiles, and olives, stirring until cheese melts. Adjust seasonings to taste.
3. To serve: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In boiling salted water, cook 1 pound elbow macaroni, following package directions. Drain; toss with sauce. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Pour into a 2-quart casserole; top with an additional 1/2 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded. Cover; bake until mixture is heated through and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
* Timesaver Tip: Sauce can be made up to 6 hours ahead, covered, and refrigerated, or it can be frozen. To freeze, spoon into a freezer container, cover, label, and freeze at 0 degrees F up to 2 months. To serve, defrost sauce 15 to 20 minutes in microwave oven on Defrost setting, stirring several times, or thaw in refrigerator 8 to 24 hours. Gently warm sauce in a saucepan or microwave oven on 50% power until warmed through, about 3 minutes, whisking frequently and vigorously to bring it to a creamy consistency.
NOTES : Here's a new twist to an old standby, macaroni and cheese. Try this sauce with spinach or artichoke pasta, instead of elbow macaroni (see
step 3 for directions on cooking the pasta).
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