I’m stepping out of the cookie zone to share a recipe made with a pepper that is wildly popular here during the month of August, the Hatch green chile. Named after The Hatch Valley in New Mexico, Hatch green chiles are lighter in color, slightly sweeter and skinnier than poblano peppers. During Hatch season we use them in just about everything, which in this case is a creamy baked penne dish.
This recipe is from the late Jean Andrews, aka Austin’s Pepper Lady. I never got to meet her, but I always felt a connection because we appeared in the newspaper the same day. I’d won a cooking contest, and she was promoting The Peppers Cookbook. A day or two later, during a visit to my ear doctor, he commented that two of his patients had been in the paper. It was yet another “Austin sure is a small town” moment, and if you live here you know what I’m talking about. Everyone knows someone you know. At any rate, I went out and bought The Peppers Cookbook the next day. This recipe is adapted from the book, but I used Hatch peppers in place of Poblano. As you can see by the photo, I made a fraction of the dish, which is another nice thing about this recipe — you can halve, quarter or even eighth it! But don’t worry. The full batch version is below.
- 3 hatch chili peppers, mild or spicy
- 10 cups of water
- 1 teaspoon chicken or vegetable soup base
- 14 to 16 ounces of penne pasta
- 2 cups of sour cream or a mixture of sour cream and good yogurt
- 1/4 cup heavy creamy (completely optional!)
- 2 cups Mexican style shredded cheese, Monterey Jack etc.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Roast the peppers. Slit the chili peppers down the center, scrape out the seeds and arrange on a large foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 450F for about 10 minutes or until the pepper’s skins have blistered. Turn and bake for a few more minutes. Remove from the oven and using tongs, transfer to a heavy duty freezer bag or a bowl with a lid. Seal the hot peppers in the bag (or cover bowl) and let cool. When cool, remove from bags, peel away skins, chop.
- Bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the soup base. You can also add a little salt to the water if you want. Add pasta and boil until al dente (7 to 12 minutes depending on type).
- Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, process the sour cream, and chopped chile peppers.
- Drain the pasta and toss it with the sour cream mixture and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. If you feel like it, add a little cream. At this point you can add some salt and pepper to taste, but I never do.
- Arrange in a greased 9x13 inch casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake at 375 F. for about 10 minutes, then sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Bake uncovered for another 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.