This macaroni cheese is a perfect dish for an Autumn night in: crispy chorizo and a creamy cheese sauce, baked in the oven until the topping is nice and crunchy.
I stole the idea for this recipe from my friend T, who made macaroni cheese with chorizo for a girls’ night in recently. I made a few changes and added leek, purely because I had some in the fridge. I used fusilli pasta, but obviously you may prefer to use macaroni.
You can omit the chorizo for a vegetarian version, or use ham, bacon, chicken or a combination. Some people prefer to keep mac ‘n’ cheese simple, but I think it is always fun to take a basic recipe and see what you can do with it. I also like to bake it so it has a crispy, cheesy topping.
This recipe serves 2, generously!
- Prep Time : 20 minutes
- Cook Time : 15 minutes
- 200g macaroni or fusilli
- 4 inch chunk of chorizo - Cut into 1cm pieces
- 130g cheddar cheese - grated
- 1 leek - thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic - finely chopped
- 1/2 red chilli - finely chopped
- 2 tbs parmesan - grated
- 400ml semi skimmed milk
- 2 tbs plain flour
- 25g butter
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper
- pinch of grated nutmeg - optional
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade
2. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet - probably for around 8-9 minutes.
3. While you are cooking the pasta, put a frying pan on a high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and the chunks of chorizo. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it starts to go brown and crispy. Then add the garlic and chilli and stir fry for a further minute, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Add the leek and continue to fry for about 2 minutes until it is soft. Put the mixture in a bowl to one side.
4. The pasta will probably be ready now. Drain and leave to one side.
5. Make the cheese sauce. Put a non stick saucepan on a low heat. Add the butter and tablespoon of olive oil. When the butter has melted, sprinkle in the flour and stir it all together to form a paste. Slowly add the milk, using a whisk to combine it with the paste and make sure it stays smooth. Keep adding the milk gradually, stirring the whole time. Continue to heat until the sauce has thickened.
6. Stir in the majority of the cheddar cheese, leaving a small handful to go on top later. Add the nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. You probably wont need a lot of salt.
7. Stir in the chorizo and leek mixture and the cooked pasta. Pour it all into an oven proof dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar, parmesan and breadcrumbs evenly over the top.
8. Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the top is brown and crispy.