Recipe: Super Bowl Mac and Cheese with Chorizo
- 1 lb pasta (I used Barilla rigatoni)
- 4 chorizo
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 stick butter
- Half & half
- 1 medium onion
- Bread crumbs
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 8
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)
Calories: A lot
Fat: A lot
Protein: some, from the chorizo, I guess. Do you really care about nutrition if you’re making this?
Have a two pound block of sharp cheddar cheese you bought from Smart and Final that had a use by date three months from when you bought it but started getting moldy a week later. Scrape the mold off and try to wrap it tightly with Saran wrap. Put it back in the refrigerator. Look at it two weeks later when it starts to get moldy again and start thinking you’d better use it. Fortunately, the Superbowl is coming up so mac and cheese isn’t a bad idea.
Live a block from Taylor’s Sausage (that’s my photo of the chorizo) and think chorizo would be good in mac and cheese. Buy four pieces of chorizo and wonder how many pounds that is. I think I paid them a little over $6 but I forget the cost per pound. Dice a medium onion. Heat your cast iron Dutch oven (because that’s what you use for a frying pan) for two minutes on high. Add some oil to the Dutch oven and the onion. Slice open the chorizo casings and add the sausage to the Dutch oven. Crumble the chorizo with a sharp spoon. Curse Taylor’s for making the chorizo so lean it doesn’t brown. Pour some more oil in. Remove from heat when it’s not going to caramelize anymore.
Boil some water for the pasta in a four quart saucepan and wonder if there’s enough water or too much water because one pound of pasta is going to displace a certain amount of water. (This is because you are too lazy to get the 8 quart stockpot out). When the water boils, add some salt and the pasta and start timing. Do people really start timing once the water starts to boil again? I just cook a minute less than the instructions from when I dump the pasta in the water.
While the pasta is cooking, unwrap the cheese, scrape the mold off and wash the block of cheese under warm running water and watch your sink strainer clog up. Cut thin slices of cheese off each side of the block of cheese (there are six sides). This accomplishes two things. First, instead of having to take the food processor out to grate the cheese, these thin slices of cheese will easily melt in the béchamel. That saves having to clean the food processor or a grater. Second, slicing off the outer part of the block of cheese might keep the inner part of the block of cheese (which is now the outside) from getting moldy. I shaved my two pound block to a final size of 3 3/4″ x 2 9/16″ x 1 15/16″. I don’t think these measurements are critical. Wrap the remaining cheese in a NEW piece of Saran wrap and refrigerate and hope it doesn’t get moldy as fast.
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Make a béchamel sauce by melting a half of stick of butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Throw in some flour and then wonder where your whisk is. Use a spoon to stir the roux until it looks like the right consistency. You were supposed to add equal amounts of butter and flour. Maybe add some more flour. Maybe add some more butter. Keep stirring. Don’t worry about using scalded milk to add to the roux because you only have half & half and 1% low fat milk anyway. Pour in some of each and until you think, “that’s like regular milk.” Keep stirring because the roux is going to continue to thicken the mixture. Gradually add the slices of cheese, stirring continuously so they melt in the sauce. Now really wish you had your whisk.
Drain the pasta and put it in your Corning Ware 9″ Blue Cornflower casserole that was your mom’s because that’s the only casserole you have because you were too cheap to buy a nice Le Creuset gratin dish when they were on sale and now they’re twice as much. Stir in the chorizo and onions into the pasta. Pour the sauce over the pasta and hope it doesn’t overflow the sides. Use the leftover sauce on some Tostitos Restaurant Style tortilla chips to make nachos. Maybe you should have bought some andouille you could have sliced up and put on top of the nachos and skipped this whole thing.
Sprinkle some bread crumbs on top. Put the casserole on a baking sheet for when it overflows. Bake at 325 F. for a while. Realize the racks aren’t setup to brown the top of the mac and cheese under the broiler. Screw it, the sausage never really carmelized either.
Remove from oven and photograph. Eat a bite and think, I really enjoyed those tater tots that I cooked in the oil left over from the Buffalo chicken wings more than the mac and cheese. Edit the photo in Photoshop and keep thinking the saturation is too high. Turn down the saturation and think it looks too flat. Wonder about the color balance. I did a manual color balance with a white sheet of paper for the kitchen light and stored it as a preset in the camera. Give up trying to adjust the color. It looks different on the other monitor anyway.
Upload the photo to Facebook and think, screw the color.
Maybe next time start drinking Scotch Whisky after you make the mac and cheese.