So, my friends, it seems that the macaroni and cheese adventure continues with this spicy, south of the border version. Clever name aside (come on, you love that I rhymed mac with jack), this is full of piquant flavors and lovely texture that will become a welcomed departure from the usually cheddar pasta conglomeration. If you like things hotter than hot, use a hefty pinch of cayenne pepper when making your cheese sauce. Or dice a little chopped jalapeno into the mix as you saute the veggies. I use mexican-style smoked chorizo for this, but you can also crumble and brown fresh chorizo, or dice a nice andouille sausage as well. The choice is yours, dolls.
The bechamel for the macaroni and cheese is similar to most of the other versions I’ve posted, with the exception of the milk. Here I use canned, evaporated milk of the fat-free variety, which provides lovely creaminess with half the fat. Another variation is that in most of my mac and cheese recipes, I bake the entire thing after saucing. This version is actually perfectly lovely unbaked and topped with a smattering of sliced scallions. It’s excellent weekday eating – heck, you could even replace the chorizo for browned ground beef for truly the best Hamburger Helper you may ever have on this green earth. Given that actual Hamburger Helper is abysmal, this isn’t much of a challenge. Cook on!
Spicy Mac with Chorizo and Jack
1 lb of elbow macaroni
1/2 c. of chopped piquillo peppers (roasted reds are fine)
2 tbs. of onion, finely chopped
1 lb. of smoked chorizo, diced
3 c. of evaporated milk
4 tbs. of butter
4 tbs. of flour
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
1 tsp. of mustard
3/4 tsp. of garlic powder
3/4 tsp. of salt
1 c. of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 c. of pepper jack, shredded
Preheat oven to 400°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente and drain.
While pasta is boiling, make your sauce. In a large sized pot, melt your butter on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the piquillo peppers and stir. Whisk the flour into the butter to form a smooth paste. Slowly add the milk in a steady stream, whisking the whole time to prevent lumps. Add the salt, black pepper, mustard and garlic powder. Turn up heat and continue whisking until sauce thickens. Turn off the heat and add the cheese, whisking until melted. Stir in diced chorizo and taste for spice. Add cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste.
Toss macaroni and sauce in a large bowl. Let sit for 4-5 minutes and then serve.