Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fancy Mac with Monterey Jack and Chorizo

Macaroni and cheese is one of America's all time favorite comfort foods. The warm and gooey cheesy noodles are delicious and filling. I decided to make a grown up version of macaroni and cheese for dinner this past week and it was sooo yummy! I cut the original recipe for this out of Rachael Ray's magazine. I am not typically a fan of Rachael's stuff. It tends to be a little over the top for me most of the time.

The original recipe for this called for manchego cheese. I found this cheese while I was grocery shopping the other day and it was $11.99 for enough for a cup! I would have had to spend $24 just for cheese for this recipe!! Any of you that have read my blog in the past know that I am a die hard tight wad and strive to make great recipes with the cheapest ingredients possible. $24 for cheese just wasn't cutting it!!

I did a search online for substitutions for manchego cheese and came up with monterey jack. I can definitely handle fact I already had some so even better!

The recipe makes a creamy cheese sauce that you add sliced pimento's and peas to. To serve it you top it with a sprinkling of some spicy chorizo sausage. The nice thing is that we were able to leave this off for my nieces. One of my favorite aspects of this recipe is the cavatappi (corkscrew) pasta. You could easily make this with rotini or other pastas.

Fancy Mac with Monterey Jack and Chorizo

(adapted from Rachael Ray magazine)

  • 1 lb cavatappi pasta
  • 1/2 lb chorizo sausage, casings removed and chopped
  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 3 TBL butter
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 TBL flour
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (if you don't have sherry, add more chicken broth)
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 small jar pimentos, drained
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed

Add water to a stock pot and bring to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain. In a small skillet, add the olive oil and chorizo sausage and cook until done. Crumble the sausage as you cook it. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.

In a stock pot, melt the butter and add the shallots. Cook until translucent. Add the garlic about 30 seconds before you are done with the shallots so that it will not burn. Whisk in the flour and sherry. Add the chicken stock and milk and cook until thickened. Stir in the cheese until melted. Fold in the peas and pimentos. Add the macaroni and coat with the cheese sauce.

Serve with about 1/4 cup of crumbled sausage on top.

Etc Etc...You could add canned mushrooms in addition to the peas and pimentos. You chould also also use pepper jack cheese instead of montery jack if you like spicy stuff.

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