Recipe from The Alaska from Scratch Cookbook, Rodale Books, a division of Penguin Random House, 2018.
In a Dutch oven or large pot over high heat, stir together the water, 1 cup of the milk, the pasta, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, continuing to stir often, for 9 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Cook the jalapeño pepper for 2 minutes,
or until fragrant and tender. Turn off the heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1⁄2 cup milk with the cornstarch and garlic powder. Add to the
pasta mixture, stirring until it begins to thicken. Add the Cheddar and cream cheese and mix until creamy and
smooth. If the mixture is too thick, gradually add more water to make it creamier. Add the jalapeño and butter
and toss to combine. Season with more salt as needed. Sprinkle the top of the macaroni with the toasted panko and serve promptly while hot.