Serves 6 to 8
- 2 cups milk
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Frontera Jalapeño-Cilantro Salsa
- 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt, about 1 ½ teaspoons
- 12 ounces dried pasta (such as elbow macaroni, cork-screw cavatappi or the spiral rotini or fusilli)
- A couple of tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Heat 4 quarts of water in a large pot over high heat to a boil. Meanwhile, warm the milk in a glass measuring cup for 1 minute in a microwave oven on high (or warm in a small saucepan).
Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and whisk until the mixture turns a deep golden, about 2 minutes. Add the warmed milk all at once and continue to whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil, 4 or 5 minutes. (Whisk diligently and there will be no lumps.) Stir in the salsa, remove from the heat, then stir in cheese, stirring until it melts. Taste and season generously with salt.
When the water has come to a boil, add the dried pasta. Stir well so no pieces stick together and boil until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Stir in the cheese sauce, then spoon into a serving dish. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Note: If you want a wonderful contrasting texture, spoon the macaroni and cheese into a buttered baking dish. Top with buttered coarse bread crumbs and bake in a 375-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until richly browned and crisp.