Monday, January 14, 2013

Smoky Chipotle & Cheddar Mac

Ok, so I know the last thing anyone wants is another naughty recipe after spending the past month overindulging. But in a couple weeks when you’ve grown sick of your post-holiday diet of celery and carrots and the dark, cold days of winter, you’ll want to savor something comforting.

That’s when you pull out this guy.

This recipe from Rachael Ray is one of my favorites when I’m in the mood for something cozy, creamy and just plain good. And, despite being a bit on the high-fat side, its all-natural and relatively nutritious ingredient list makes it a far better choice than anything Stauffer’s, Kraft or a restaurant could whip up for you. We eat it as a main dish with a heap of veggies on the side, but you can easily keep portions in check by serving as a side along with grilled lean meat and veggies. 

Smoky Chipotle and Cheddar Mac
From Rachael Ray

1 lb. macaroni elbows
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
¾ lb. chorizo
1 15-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 chipotle in adobo, chopped
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 c. whole milk
1 c. chicken stock
3 c. shredded smoked cheddar

Place a pot of water on to boil for macaroni. When it boils, salt water and cook pasta until a little under done.

While pasta cooks, place a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil and chorizo. Brown the chorizo then add the canned tomatoes to the pan and heat them through. Remove from heat and reserve.

While chorizo begins to cook, heat a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, then add onions and chipotles and cook 3 to 5 min. to sweat it out and turn the juices sweet. Raise heat up a bit, add the flour and whisk together until mixture bubbles up. Cook 1 min. 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.

Drain macaroni. Add cooked pasta back to the large pot.

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 chives and serve. 
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