Mac and Chorizo

As a fairly typical American, I have a strong love for macaroni and cheese. I’m not even particular. Macaroni and “cheese” powder out of a box? Yes, please. Shells and “cheese” sauce with bacon? Absolutely. Creamy homemade – delicious. Baked and casserole-like – sign me up!

I had been wanting to make some kind of spicy entree, and then we talked about Dave’s trip. And then I got to thinking about mac-n-cheese. I had just settled on a Mexican-inspired mac-n-cheese, with ground beef, when were shopping and I said “Well, I could always use chorizo.” And that was all she wrote. (Clearly not all I wrote, though…)

If you like chorizo, or any kind of semi-spicy ground meat, you’ll like this. You’ll especially like this if you like that sausage/Velveeta/Rotel dip. Speaking of which, if you’re looking for man-food, you can easily omit the pasta and make this a dip by adding extra cheese sauce.

Ingredients

24 ounces chorizo (we used mild)
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cans (4 oz) mild green chiles, diced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 box (16 oz) rotelle pasta (any small noodles will do)
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1 cup quesadilla cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons butter
Scant 1/4 cup flour
~2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1 bunch green onions – sliced greens only

Steps

-Remove chorizo from casing. Heat in large skillet, breaking apart into small pieces.
-About halfway through cooking, add diced onions and cook until translucent.
-Drain grease and then stir in chiles, tomatoes, and spices.
-Let simmer while you prepare pasta according to box directions. (Well, maybe not exactly. The directions on my pasta called for 9 – 11 minutes of boiling, but I only boiled 7 minutes.)
-Meanwhile, melt butter in medium sauce pan. Add flour and stir until a paste forms. Whisk in milk a bit at a time until a thick sauce forms. Slowly add in cheeses, stirring until it’s all combined.
-Pour sauce over drained pasta. Stir in chorizo mixture.
-Top with sliced green onions and additional cheese.

Notes

-If you hate flour, you could use a strictly milk/cream and cheese sauce. Also, if you hate milk, you could probably substitute broth in the sauce and it would be okay.
-If you don’t have quesadilla cheese, any combination of cheddars would work well.
-Feel free to use any spicy-level you like. Chorizo comes in various heat levels, and you could also use jalapenos instead of chiles. This was not spicy at all, and I would have felt okay serving it to any kids who normally eat tacos.

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