I think, as time goes on, I’ve becoming more of a homebody. I love having people over, or visitings a friend’s place, for dinner and drinks, and spending time having great conversation around a home-cooked meal (or homemade cocktails) has become more appealing than it ever was before. It’s also a good excuse to have something you wouldn’t necessarily make on a regular basis, like, say … a big bowl of gooey mac and cheese loaded with chorizo.
When making mac & cheese with friends, the number one rule is to use as many utensils for mixing as there are people, so everyone can lick the spoon – and the host gets first dibs on the pan.
Thanks to fellow food blogger Amanda at My Jersey Kitchen for suggesting I write up this recipe!
On the Counter
75 g/3 oz Spanish spicy chorizo, diced
1 tsp olive oil
100 g smoked Gouda
100 g mature cheddar
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green chili, diced [optional]
lb shell pasta (conchiglietti)
115 mL / 1/2 cup room temperature milk
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
dash of salt
a few grinds of white (or black) pepper
bowl for mixing topping
spoon for stirring
spoon for tasting
saucepan big enough to cook pasta
buttered casserole dish, around 26 cm (10 in) long
What to Do
In the olive oil, sauté the onions until they’re just softening, then add the garlic, green chili and chorizo. You shouldn’t need any more oil, as the chorizo will give off plenty. Fry until the chorizo starts to darken, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta in heavily salted water, for about 3 minutes less than the package requests. Just before or at al dente is ideal. Once it’s cooked, rinse it with water and set aside. Give the pot a quick rinse.
Set the chorizo aside, and start your cheese sauce.
Heat the butter in your pasta pot until it’s melted and bubbly, add flour bit by bit and whisk together until you get doughy strings. It should take less than a minute.
Off the heat, slowly add in the room temperature milk. Put it back on very low heat (nearly as low as you can get it) and keep whisking until the bechamel (white sauce) thickens. You will notice a difference in the texture, and it should take about 3 or 4 minutes of whisking.
Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F.
At that point, slowly pour the cheese into the white sauce, and keep stirring until all the cheese is melted. At this point, if you need a little more milk, adding it should not be a problem.
Add in the paprika, the garlic/chorizo/onion/chili, and some salt and pepper. Stir to combine, and then add the pasta in, mixing thoroughly to coat.
Spoon the cheesy macaroni into a buttered casserole dish, and smooth it flat. Top with cheesy panko topping. (below)
Bake for 25 minutes. Then, move to the broil/grill for 5 minutes to toast the topping.
Cheesy Panko Topping
1/2 cup (30 g) Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (50 g) grated cheddar and Gouda
Stir to combine.
PS: Check out My Kitchen Counter on instagram, where you can get a preview of things that will show up on the blog, plus a few other things that don’t quite make the recipe list.