There’s not much better out there than mac and cheese. It’s so rich and comforting and perfect for a cool day. Yes, I know. It’s still August, but we were all craving some mac and cheese, so we went ahead and whipped up a batch anyway. Growing up, my dad always made the absolute best mac and cheese. I have a very hard time maintaining that creamy consistency when I bake it. His mac and cheese is ALWAYS creamy. I don’t know how he does it! Mind boggling. Oh well, this mac and cheese was still pretty delicious (although not as delicious as my dad’s), and was the perfect Sunday night meal. We spiced it up a little bit with chorizo, tomato and cilantro. It was a great spin on a classic. I suggest you give it a try…for your general well-being and the well-being of those around you =).
If you are looking to drop a couple of pounds this recipe is not for you, but whatever…you are supposed to splurge on the weekends. Right? Right. There is a ton of cheese, milk and heavy cream in it, but I think this is what makes mac and cheese so great. What I love about this recipe, is that it can be eaten right out of the pot, or baked and eaten right out of the oven. I tend to gravitate towards the “out of the pot” way of eating it just because it’s super creamy, but there is something to be said for topping it with extra cheese and bread crumbs and baking it to golden perfection. Somehow my dad was always able to bake it and still maintain that creamy consistency. This is still…for obvious reasons…mind boggling.
Chorizo is the ingredient that sends this mac and cheese to new heights of flavor. Chorizo is spicy, but not out of control. If you are worried about the spice factor, just use a regular mild Italian sausage instead. It won’t be quite the same, but you’ll still get the general idea. Oh and bacon is always a great ingredient to throw into the mix. Mmmmmmm…baconnnnnn.
I decided to head down memory lane with this beer pairing and pair it with Weyerbacher’s Belgian-style Pale Ale: Verboten. I love
Weyerbacher, but like many of the other amazing breweries across this country, they don’t distribute to our area. It’s sad, but this doesn’t take away from the greatness that is Weyerbacher. I even think its lack of availability adds to it’s greatness. You cherish those beers that much more when you can’t get your hands on them as often. Verboten is a Belgian-style pale ale and perfectly crisp and refreshing. It’s pairs very well with spicy foods, and is just a tad on the bitter side. It’s a great end of summer brew, and that’s why we love it =).
Have a great day everyone!
This is the perfect spin on mac and cheese! The chorizo really gives the recipe a great kick!
- 1 pound pasta, medium shells or elbows
- 1 pound chorizo sausage, loose
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
- 2 1/4 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup swiss cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup gruyere cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 roma tomatoes, quartered
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and situate the oven rack to the middle of the oven.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water. Add the pasta and cook until tender with a bite (you don''t want it completely cooked through), about 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Set aside until you are read to use.
- In a large saute pan, add the chorizo and cook over medium heat until cooked through. Once cooked, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of any grease.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk for 2-3 minutes, or until the flour has been heated through. Whisk in the milk and heavy cream and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened significantly. Season the mixture with salt, pepper and ground cayenne pepper. Stir in 2 cups of the cheddar cheese, swiss cheese, gruyere cheese, and parmesan cheese. Continue to stir until all of the cheese has melted. Taste the cheese sauce, and season again to your liking. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and toss so that the pasta is evenly coated.
- Butter a 9x13in baking dish and pour the pasta into it. At this point, gently add the chorizo and toss to combine. Top with panko bread crumbs ad the remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until the top is bubbly and slightly brown. Remove from oven and top with fresh roma tomatoes and cilantro. Serve hot and enjoy!
Hardware: * Stock Pot * Wooden Spoon * Saute Pan * Paper Towel-Lined Plate * Large Saucepan * Whisk * Measuring Cups * Measuring Spoons * Cheese Grater * 9x13in. Baking Dish * Sharp Knife * Cutting Board *