GREEN CHILE MAC AND CHEESE
1 pound macaroni, penne or other dried pasta shape
1/4 cup butter, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1/2 onion, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
5 cups grated sharp Cheddar, divided (about 1 pound)
1/2 to 3/4 cup peeled, seeded, chopped fresh or frozen mild green chile
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Cook the pasta, then drain and rinse briefly under cold running water. Set aside.
2. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to make a paste, and cook for 2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Add the milk, a bit at a time, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.
3. Stir in the goat cheese until thoroughly blended. Stir in 4 cups cheddar and cook until melted and smooth. Stir in the green chile, adding more to taste. Season to taste with about 1 teaspoon salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.
4. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and stir in the panko bread crumbs. Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved cheddar cheese.
5. Stir the cooked pasta into the cheese mixture and spoon it into the prepared baking dish, evening the top with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the top. Bake until the mixture is beginning to brown and bubble, about 40 minutes.
Serves 6 to 8.