Our friends at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board have invited us to come back for a second year of their Mac ‘n Cheese extravaganza, 30 Days 30 Ways with Macaroni and Cheese. Last year, we went savory with our Wintervera Mac but this year we’re spicing things up.
This Southwestern Pepper Jack Mac brings the heat whether you’re battling the cold winter weather or sitting on your patio with a cold beer. Spicy chorizo and zippy Wisconsin pepper jack cheese are layered with fresh, pungent greens to make a mac that’s packed with Tex-Mex flavors.
Southwestern Pepper Jack Mac
1 box cavatappi noodles
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 C flour
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 green onions, chopped
1 lb ground chorizo
3 C whole milk
3 C pepper jack, shredded
2 C shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 handful cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 375. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add cavatappi noodles. Cook noodles for 8-10 minutes until al dente. Drain and transfer to a 13×9 baking dish.
In a large saucepot, melt butter and gradually whisk in flour until mixture thickens. Do NOT let it burn. Slowly whisk in milk, working in small amounts and incorporating into the roux until smooth. Gradually repeat process, adding shredded cheese in small amounts and whisking until each amount is melted and well incorporated. Keep warm over low heat for 5-7 minutes or until the rest of your dish is assembled.
Meanwhile, remove seeds from pepper and dice. Chop green onions and cilantro, setting aside half of the cilantro. At the same time, cook chorizo in a medium skillet until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
Drain excess fat and juices from chorizo and add to the baking dish with the noodles. Add in pepper, onions and half of the cilantro and mix well to evenly distribute ingredients. Pour cheese mixture over the noodles. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese begins to slightly crust and bubble.