Honestly, who doesn't love mac 'n cheese?! I don't think I've ever met another person who doesn't like it and the nice thing about mac 'n cheese is that it is so versatile...there are really so many different ways to put it together! I know, I know...you're thinking, "Mac 'n Cheese...isn't that also a "dangerous" comfort food?" Well....yeah, it can be...but with a few adjustments, it doesn't have to be so bad. Like I always say, a treat now & then is okay and when you make it rather then going out, you know it will be healthier because you are in control of what and what doesn't go in there.
Traditionally, cured chorizo is commonly used in many Spanish meals, but it is also not the healthiest of meats...it is very high in saturated fat and also in sodium. This is where I made one of major adjustments for this recipe...I used "soyrizo", which is a vegetarian substitute for chorizo (this can be found at many health food stores...think Whole Foods, Sunharvest, Trader Joe's, etc.). This is a much healthier way to get that very similar taste of chorizo. You're probably thinking that just sounds plain wrong, but seriously, don't knock it until you try it ; ). The first time I got my husband (a true carnivore) to try it, he was pleasantly surprised and now will gladly eat "soyrizo" whenever I use it in my cooking in place of chorizo. With all that said, if you would prefer to go the traditional route and use the real stuff then by all means, do!
- 1 lb whole wheat elbow macaroni
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 package of "soyrizo" or 4 ounces (roughly 1 cup) cured chorizo, casing removed & diced
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded & diced (if you prefer less spice then omit this since the "soyrizo"/chorizo is already spicy as is
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbs light butter (I use the Land o Lakes light butter)
- 2 tbs all purpose flour
- 2 cups 2% milk (the original recipe called for whole milk...this was another ingredient that I altered)
- 8 ounces Manchego cheese, grated (not all places carry this cheese, so Pecorino Romano can also be substituted)
- optional: 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed sliced green olives
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling. Add macaroni and cook as package directions call for; drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat oil on medium-low heat. Add "soyrizo"/chorizo and cook roughly 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add pepper; saute for 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.
- Add butter to saucepan; when melted, sprinkle in flour, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Pour in milk, whisking until the liquid comes to a boil. Simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Mix until smooth. Stir into cooked macaroni with olives.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know how it goes!