Salsa Mac and Cheese

Recipe from Season 7, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 8


  • 2tablespoons butter
  • 1/4cup all-purpose flour
  • 2cups milk
  • 1 1/2 to 2cupsFire-Roasted Tomato Salsa or your favorite salsa
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt
  • 1pound dried pasta (though elbow macaroni will do, I suggest you try cork-screw cavatappi or the spiral rotini or fusilli)


Pour 4 quarts of water into a large pot, cover and set over high heat.

In a medium-size saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the flour and whisk until the mixture turns a deep golden, about 2 minutes. Add the milk 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. Continue stirring until all the cheese has melted. Taste and season generously with salt, usually 1 1/2 teaspoons. Cover to keep warm until the pasta is done.

When the water has come to a boil, add the dried pasta. Stir well to keep the pasta from sticking together and boil until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and add the pasta to the sauce. Stir until all the pasta is covered in the salsa cheese sauce. You’re ready to dig in.


  1. I was hesitant about making a full batch but my husband said “how can you go wrong with cheese and salsa? we can have leftovers!” he wasn’t wrong.
    I didn’t add any additional salt besides salting the pasta water. I did however, throw in about a half a tsp of paprika, cayenne powder, garlic powder, and onion powder, and then about one tsp of cumin and parsley flakes. the color seemed a bit weird…. but TOTALLY DELICIOUS.

  2. I made this with the spiral noodles. I agree the color had me wondering but it was really delicious!!! I would recommend eating it on the first serving and not saving for seconds (rewarming). It was so good my 2 year old granddaughter even loved it!

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