nacho-flavour macaroni and cheese

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This recipe marries the flavours of spicy cheese sauce nachos with the soft creamy texture of macaroni and cheese. What is not to like?

This is another one of those "down memory lane" recipes. Back in high school and college Dave and I used to make a version of this dish using Tone's nacho cheese powder (no longer available), some elbow macaroni, and a pound of ground beef. (A few times we had to scrape up enough change between the two of us to buy the ground beef for the dish, but we always had the Costco size container of Tone's nacho cheese powder and plenty pasta available.)

While this recipe is a bit healthier, and definitely more flavourful, than the one I made way back when, it is still one of those recipes that I do not get to make while my wife is home. She is off visiting friends in California for the week so I get to play in the kitchen.

Servings:
4
Preparation Time:
Prep: 15 minutes, Cook: 15 minutes
Tools
  • 6 qt. pot w/ lid
  • measuring spoons
  • three small bowls
  • 3 qt. saucier (or wide sauce pan)
  • cutting board & knife
  • cheese grater
  • measuring cup
  • slotted spoon
  • one medium bowl
  • whisk
  • wooden spoon
  • collander

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gal. water
  • 1 dry chile, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • 4 oz. elbow macaroni

  • 2 t. paprika
  • 1/4 t. ea. black pepper, chile powder, dry mustard, oregano, sugar
  • 2 t. flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 c. milk

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 lb. cheese, grated
  • 1/4 lb. chorizo
  • 2 t. kosher salt

  • 2 t. olive oil
Cooking Instructions
  1. Put the water on to boil and put the dry chile into the water. Add the salt and the pasta when the water starts to boil.
  2. Put the saucier over medium-low heat.
  3. Into the first small bowl mix the paprika, chile powder, mustard, oregano, and sugar.
  4. Measure the flour Into the second small bowl.
  5. Place the egg into the third small bowl and beat well.
  6. Measure out one cup of milk.
  7. Chop the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the cheese. Leave these in three piles on the cutting board.
  8. Cook the chorizo in the saucier, breaking up the big pieces with the slotted spoon, until it is cooked through.
  9. Use the slotted spoon to move the chorizo to the medium bowl.
  10. Put the saucier back on the heat. Add the onion and 2 t. of salt. Stir to coat with the rendered fat from the chorizo and let this cook for 2 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  11. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
  12. Scrape the onion and garlic into the medium bowl with the chorizo.
  13. Put the saucier back on the heat and add 2 t. of olive oil.
  14. Let the oil heat through for 30 seconds and then carefully whisk in the 2 t. of flour.
  15. Keep whisking the flour for 2 more minutes then turn the heat down to low.
  16. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the onions, garlic, and chorizo.
  17. Stir in the spice mixture. Keep stirring for 2 more minutes.
  18. Keep stirring while slowly pouring in the milk and then the beaten egg.
  19. Turn the heat back up to medium-low and stir slowly until the mixture begins to thicken a little.
  20. Turn the heat back down to low and stir in the cheese a little at a time. Completely stir in each portion of cheese before adding the next.
  21. Drain the pasta into the collander. Toss out what is left of the chile.
  22. While the pasta is still a little damp, dump it into the saucier and stir it into the cheese sauce.
  23. Enjoy!

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What timing, I just put

What timing, I just put Laurie on a plane and it's spring break. I'll have to make up a batch.

I haven't made any that has even come close to that almost perfect flavor that we had with that tones mix. I use a wider mix of spices than you do, and I still use ground beef, I hadn't thought of trying chorizo.

I also used to use a lot

I also used to use a lot more spices in this dish but eventually decided that that was not the flavour that I was after. So I started pairing down the spices until I got a pleasant nacho-like flavour in the cheese sauce without losing the cheese. Oh, and use an average, and orange, sharp cheddar if you really want the flavour to take you back.