Baked Summer Ratatouille
One of the first local recipes we made for the Oregon Food Bank's Eat Local Challenge!
It’s that time of year again. Hatch chile time. So fleeting… kind of like summer in Portland. SHHHHHH – for now, it’s still here, and if we are really quiet, maybe it will stick around.
I walked into the grocery store for something completely different and there they were: barrels of them, front and center in the produce section.
“Next time,” I said to myself, knowing that we were doing our big grocery trip the next day. I moved on to pick up the medicine I had originally come for.
The next day, there were but a few pounds left. Our entire neighborhood apparently had the same idea I did. So Dave and I bought enough chiles for a week and roasted them all at once. It has been a very spicy week. I’m so glad!
For the pasta (this will make four servings):
The sauce is based on Alton Brown’s mac and cheese recipe. You will need:
*****FAIR WARNING: I tripled the amount of hot sauce initially called for, AND I added chorizo to this recipe. IT’S FRICKIN HOT. If you don’t like spicy foods, I would suggest using like, half a teaspoon in the sauce and tasting it to see if you like it, lest you end up like that Nazi dude in Raiders of the Lost Ark. You can always add more if you want. I would not recommend omitting it entirely – the flavor is important!
Start the pasta cooking, and in the meantime, brown the chorizo in a skillet. Set aside and sautee the onions and garlic. Peel and chop the Hatch chile, too, and mix it back in with the veggies and the chorizo in the skillet. Gently keep warm while the pasta finishes cooking.
While you wait for the pasta to be done, it’s a good idea to shred your cheddar and to lightly beat together the eggs, milk, hot sauce and mustard in a liquid measurement vessel. Have them both at the ready.
When the pasta is done, drain the water and return it to the saucepan. Return the saucepan to very low heat and stir in the butter with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring as the butter melts, to get a nice coat on all of the noodles. Next, stir in the egg mixture – the gentle heat will cook the eggs. Last, add the cheese about 1 cup at a time. The gentle heat, plus you continuing to stir (your arm might get tired – this takes a while), will melt the shredded cheese. Keep adding until it has all melted.
Taste for salt and hot sauce levels. Adjust to your liking, and devour! I suggest bringing a glass of water.