Sunday, January 9, 2011

January 9: Smoky Chipotle Mac-n-Cheddar with Tomato and Chorizo

   Coarse salt
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi (corkscrew-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 cups whole milk
1 cup chicken stock or broth
3 cups grated smoked Cheddar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
   Freshly ground black pepper
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped, or 1 tablespoon ground chipotle powder
3/4 to 1 pound chorizo, casings removed, diced
1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to season the cooking water, then add the pasta. Cook for 8 or 9 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente. Drain well and return to the pot.
While the pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add the EVOO and heat with the butter until it melts. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes to sweat them out and turn the juices sweet. Raise the heat a bit, then whisk in the flour, cayenne, chipotle, and paprika. Whisk together until the roux bubbles up, then cook for 1 minute more. Whisk in the milk and stock and raise the heat a bit higher to bring the sauce to a quick boil. Once it  bubbles, drop the heat back to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.
Place a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of EVOO and the chorizo. Brown the chorizo, then add the tomatoes and cook briefly, just to heat them through.
Add the smoked Cheddar to the thickened sauce and stir to melt it, a minute or so. Stir in the mustard and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Pour over the cooked pasta and then add the chorizo and tomatoes. Stir to combine, and serve.


I really like the smokiness of the cheese and tomatoes in this dish. It's a little fatty, but I just love the combination of flavors. I'm having memories of when my mom used to make goulash when I was little. It was basically macaroni with tomato-meat sauce - no cheese whatsoever, but I guess it's the macaroni-tomato combo that reminds me of it.

Anyway, I've made this mac-n-cheese recipe 4 times now and I think I'm learning something. She says "whisk in the flour... whisk together until the roux bubbles up, then cook for 1 minute more." I was following directions to the T, but the roux always clumped together and never even had a chance to bubble up. So this time I just decided to add a little bit more oil. I did 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 1/2 of butter. The roux did bubble, and the sauce thickened in 3-5 minutes like the recipe says, rather than the 5-10 minutes that it's been taking in the other recipes. I think I'll just change it in my book, so that mistake isn't made again.

So I used mild chorizo for this and ground chipotle instead of peppers in adobo. I think that toned the heat down a bit, so it was suitable for me and my little ones. My husband might want to add some cayenne to his plate (he didn't eat with us today since he's in bed with a headache). Other than that, this recipe is self explanatory and I didn't change anything. It's a good variation: A+.

Oh I almost forgot: make sure to drain the chorizo when it's cooked. It's greasy enough as it is. Maybe wrap it in paper towels too.

No comments:

Post a Comment