Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mexican Mac

I've written about Homeroom in Oakland before, and it remains one of my all-time favorite restaurants.  Sadly, now that we're in Boston it's a little further away these days! Luckily I have their cookbook, and the recipes totally do the restaurant justice.  Last week, we made Homeroom's Mexican Mac.  This is one we had in Oakland, and it was way too spicy for us even though the flavors were great. So, it was fun to recreate it with a little less spice.  Super creamy Monterey Jack cheese makes an awesome sauce that's spiced up with chipotles in adobo and crispy chorizo.  You can find both raw and smoked chorizo at the grocery, and either will be delicious here.  Make sure to get it really crispy to provide a little texture.  If you prefer a spicier mac and cheese, of course you can always add extra chipotles.  Serve fresh fruit and veggies on the side since this is a very rich dish.

Mexican Mac (adapted from the Mac + Cheese Cookbook)
Serves 4

12 ounces dried pasta
1/2 pound chorizo
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2-1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 chipotle in adobo, minced finely

1. Put on a big pot of water to boil. When the water boils, add some salt along with the dried pasta, and cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain and keep ready until the cheese sauce is done. (You can cook the pasta while you prepare the sauce to save time)
2. Either uncooked or cooked chorizo will work here.  If you have the smoked links, cut them into small cubes.  If you have bulk or uncooked chorizo links, remove the casing (if it's there) and crumble.  Either way, add to a non-stick skillet set over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the choizo is cooked through, browned on the outside, and sizzling.  Drain off any fat that is rendered out.
3. Heat the milk in the microwave until it is hot but not boiling.
4. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter in the skillet, and then add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk, using a silicone-coated whisk to protect the coating on the pan.  When the milk is incorporated and the mixture is smooth, cook for another 30 seconds or so.  The sauce should be thick and just bubbling.  Remove from the heat.
5. Whisk in salt, grated cheese, and minced chipotle.  You can add more chipotle (and/or a spoonful of the sauce) if you like a spicier dish.  When the cheese is fully melted, add the browned chorizo and fold to combine.  Finally, add the pasta and sitr to combine everything.  If any of the components have cooled off too much and the dish isn't hot, you can put it back over the heat for a few minutes (this will depend on how the timing went with the chorizo, sauce, and pasta).

Our last visit to Homeroom in May!

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