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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Birthday Weekend Part Three: Spicy Mac & Cheese with Chorizo

I have a confession to make...Chris didn't actually request this dish for his birthday weekend feast.  I know it was suppose to be all about him, but, well, I was craving macaroni and cheese, and I am the cook, so my craving won out over my need to please the birthday boy!  I LOVE mac and cheese.  My all time favorite is my grandma's.  She actually gave me the recipe, but for some reason, I have never been able to duplicate it.  Oh, I can make mac & cheese, don't get me wrong, but my grandma's... well I think she used a secret ingredient that she did not inform me of.  Ask anyone in my family that has tried to make it and they will tell you the same :)  Anyway, my point is, I love mac & cheese and will give just about any recipe a shot.  That's the nice thing about mac & cheese, isn't it?  The fact that it can start off so basic and depending on what you add it can be down right gourmet!

This recipe calls for Chorizo.  Chorizo is a term encompassing several types of pork sausage originating from the Iberian Peninsula.  There are different types of Chorizo, the most common being Spanish, Portuguese, and Mexican.  I used Mexican Chorizo because it was what the grocery store had.  You can use any type of Chorizo is you choose.  If you can't find it, you can substitute regular pork sausage or even Italian sausage.  The flavors will not be the same, but it will still be scrumptious!!

Spicy Mac & Cheese with Chorizo
Adapted from The Neelys' 
10 oz. Penne pasta
1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt & pepper
2.5 links of chorizo, casings removed
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, warm
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 Tablespoon hot sauce (I used Arizona Gunslinger Habanero pepper sauce)
1/2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese
1 cup panko
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon each: salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Mix all the topping ingredients together in a small bowl.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside. 

In a skillet, over medium heat, add 1 tsp olive oil.  Saute the chorizo until browned.  Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with non stick cooking spray.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and stir for 1 minute.  Whisk in the warm milk and bring to a boil.  Lower the temperature to low and continue to whisk.  Whisk in the mustard, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir in the cheese (make sure to not let the mixture boil once the cheese is added); reserve 1/4 - 1/2 cup of the cheese for the topping.  Remove from heat.  Add the cooked pasta to the cheese mixture and stir to combine.  Pour into baking dish, top with remaining cheese, chorizo, chopped tomatoes, and panko mixture.  Bake for 35 minutes or until heated through.  Enjoy!  (Can be made ahead of time, covered, and refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before baking.)
(psst.. you don't even want to know the nutrititional information on this one.. it's bad bad bad, but so good good good!!!)

1 comment:

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

Oh my gosh this looks SO good! My husband only likes this type of chorizo, not the Spanish 'salami' kind and would LOVE this.