Back when I was trying to figure out what to do with all my leftover chipotle peppers, I found a recipe for smoky chipotle mac and cheese at food network.com.
I find almost any flavor works well in mac and cheese so of course it seemed like a good idea to pair chipotle with mac and cheese. The first time I made this almost 8 years ago it didn’t turn out the best. I was more of a novice chef at the time. Eight years later I’ve dealt with a lot of ups and downs in cooking and baking and I know how to save almost any disaster. So when I made this again the second time and the sauce turned out kind of thick and grainy I did something really simple: added more milk. It turned the sauce into a creamy dream. And this time, I was very satisfied.
- 1 lb. macaroni elbows or cavatapi corkscrew shaped pasta twists
- 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, plus some for drizzling
- 16 oz chorizo
- 1 15-oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 chipotle in adobo and their juices, chopped or 1 T. ground chipotle chili
- 3 T. all-purpose flour
- 3 c. whole milk
- 1 c. chicken stock (or use all whole milk)
- 3 c. shredded smoked Cheddar (regular cheddar works fine too if you don’t have the smoked variety)
- fresh cilantro leaves or parsley
- Place a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and chorizo. Brown the chorizo then add the canned tomatoes to the pan and heat them through. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, place a pot of water on to boil for macaroni. When it boils, salt water and cook pasta until a little under done, just shy of al dente. Drain pasta and add the past back to the pot.
- Heat a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, then add onions and chipotles and cook 3 to 5 minutes to sweat it out and turn the juices sweet. Raise heat up a bit, add the flour and whisk together until mixture bubbles up. Add more olive oil at this point if necessary. Cook 1 minute more. Whisk in milk and stock and raise heat up a little more to bring the sauce to a quick boil. Once it bubbles, drop heat back to a rolling simmer sauce to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. (If your sauce doesn’t thicken just add the cheese and it will thicken at this point.)
- If you haven’t already done so, add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt, a minute or so. Stir in chorizo and tomatoes and season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over cooked pasta in large pot and toss to combine. Transfer to a large serving platter, garnish with additional cheese and fresh herbs (if desired) and serve.
Here’s what I said about this dish back in 2010:
I like mac and cheese, chipotle, and chorizo separately and since it’s a Rachael Ray recipe, I figured it ought to be good.
Good it was, but slightly complicated to make with three pots and pans going at once. Also I ran into a bump while trying to make the sauce. I swear there is way too much flour in this recipe because when I added the flour to the oil there was big mound of dough in the middle of the pot. I had to add a stick of butter in order to get ingredients back down to liquid form. Perhaps that’s why the cheese sauce didn’t end up creamy? It seemed that the cheese I used melted in tiny clumps. Nevertheless, it tasted pretty good. BF suggested next time we cook the dish together. I think the recipe would be phenomenal if the sauce was actually creamy.