1 lb. elbow pasta
12 oz. bacon
¼ C flour
4 tbsp butter + 2 tbsp butter
3 C whole milk, room temperature
1 jar Jaime’s Spanish Village Chile con Queso
3 oz. Cheddar, shredded
1 bunch Lacinato kale
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP Jaime’s Spanish Village Hot Red Salsa, room temperature
1 ½ tsp salt
1½ C panko breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 350 and grease the bottom and sides of a large casserole dish.
Place the panko in a medium bowl. Melt 2 tbsp butter in the microwave and pour evenly over the panko, stirring until combined, set aside.
Cook pasta according to directions on box, but remove from the water 1 or 2 minutes early. The pasta should be al dente, as it will continue to cook in the cheese mixture. Return the pasta to the pot.
While the pasta is cooking, wash kale and remove veins. Chop into bite sized strips and reserve. Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium heat till crispy. Place in a paper towel-lined bowl to drain. Remove 2/3 of the fat from the skillet. Add the kale to the skillet, turning constantly with tongs. Cook for 3 minutes, until the Kale is soft and has shrunk. Make a space in the center of the skillet and add the garlic. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring to combining kale and garlic when you’re done. Remove from heat. When the bacon has cooled, crumble into small pieces.
In a large saucepan over melt 4 tbsp butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until mixture begins to bubble. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to avoid any lumps forming. Increase heat to medium and whisk occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. This can take 10-15 minutes. When the mixture is boiling, lower the heat and add the Jaime’s Chile con Queso, 2 tablespoons at a time, whisking to incorporate. Once the entire jar has been added to the sauce, add the cheddar and stir until smooth. Remove the cheese mixture from the heat. Add salt and stir.
Combine the cheese sauce with the pasta, kale, and bacon. Add the salsa and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared casserole dish and top with the panko mixture. Bake in the lower third of the oven until the cheese sauce is bubbling on the sides and the panko is golden, about 20 minutes. Enjoy!