Although Hatch chile peppers can certainly be chopped and used raw, they’re ideal for roasting. Roasting is simple to do, and it enhances the chile's flavor and intensifies the heat level. Roasting can easily be done at home -- Frieda’s has step-by-step directions on their website. Once roasted, simply slip the skins off of the Hatch chiles and you’re ready to use them in a variety of recipes. Stuff them with cheese for chile rellenos...or chop them for using in homemade salsas, sauces, chili, etc. I recently roasted 5 lbs. of Hatch chiles one weekend afternoon. I packed them into ziptop bags and placed them in the freezer so I can use them this Fall, long after the Hatch harvest season is over!
For today’s recipe, I decided to use some of my chopped roasted Hatch chiles in a spicy fusion dish: flavorful Hatch-Cheddar Shrimp Risotto. Using the classic risotto technique, I added diced Hatch chile and creamy cheddar cheese. To add a bit of smokiness, I incorporated some diced pancetta – but bacon would work just fine too! This risotto makes a perfect one-pan dinner that takes classic risotto to spicy new levels. I used one diced roasted Hatch chile in my risotto, but feel free to double that amount if you want a bit more kick.