Eat Like a Gilmore: Jalapeno Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese

By Nandini Ahuja

Last night my left hand was in a bowl of milk. I left it in there for ten minutes while watching some Aziz Ansari standup and trying to ignore the sensation that my fingers were on fire. Before the milk, I had already doused them in mustard, coated them in Vaseline, and massaged them with yogurt and honey.

No, I hadn’t burned my fingers in some horrific stovetop accident. I had been chopping jalapenos for the delicious Jalapeno Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese Sookie made in Season 4, Episode 3 of Gilmore Girls.

Throughout Gilmore Girls, the other characters mock Sookie for going overboard with her culinary creations, but I’m always in awe of her dishes – especially this one. In the episode, her macaroni and cheese comes out completely green, which is partially why it isn’t eaten by a bunch of picky kids. I, however, really wanted to achieve this green color! Unfortunately, I could not, but I did achieve a night of major heartburn for my mom and a big thumbs up from my big sister. And isn’t Gilmore Girls all about estrogen and family? And food of course.

My recipe was inspired by Simply Gloria’s Creamy Havarti Jalapeno Macaroni and Cheese, but with significant changes, made it true to Gilmore goodness.

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 Gilmore Girls Jalapeno Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients
2 cups uncooked pasta, cooked to al dente (I used penne)
2 large jalapenos, diced (pick out seeds to reduce heat)
1 cup shredded Havarti cheese
1 cup shredded jalapeno cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chipotle mayonnaise
bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium size sauce pan on medium heat, melt butter. Add cream cheese and heavy cream and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat before it comes to a boil and add cheese, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Stir.

Pour pasta and jalapenos into medium sized baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and stir until combined. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top.

Bake for 20 minutes.

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When asked by my family what I put in the mac n’ cheese,  I said “cholesterol.” This dish isn’t healthy, but when did the Gilmore Girls ever eat anything nutritious out of pleasure? I really liked the way it turned out (though it wasn’t green, it still looked very appetizing) and loved the kick I got from the jalapenos. I’m too faint-hearted for a mac like this ALL the time (I could feel my esophagus rebel), but I would love to pair this with soup or a salad. Very un-Lorelai like.

Something I would change is my chipotle contribution. I would be less lazy and buy dried chipotle peppers rather than just use what I have at home. The mayo barely made a difference in the flavor of the mac, so next time I try this recipe, I’ll try it with pieces of chipotle peppers in the sauce.

I’m happy to say I had a bite of leftover macaroni today and it didn’t taste bitter with memories of my jalapeno skin burn! Advice: wear gloves and loose pants. Well, just lose the pants. Wear gloves, underwear, and a smile on your face. Dig in!

Post and Photo by Nandini Ahuja. Recipe adapted from Simply Gloria

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