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While we always associate Italy and Italian cuisine with pasta, do you know the Spanish have their own take on this ubiquitous dish? Macarrones with chorizo is a popular Spanish style pasta made with a tube pasta, chopped chorizo and loads of cheese. This recipe also has delicious, crunchy, sweet and spicy red peppers adding a whole other level of depth and flavor to our dining table staple.
- 1 lb of elbow macaroni pasta
- 1 chorizo thinly sliced
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 cup tomato finely chopped
- 1 cup of chopped red peppers
- 1 cup Manchego cheese
- 1 teaspoon basil
- Parmesan cheese optional
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
- In a large pot, cook the pasta according to package instructions and set aside. Save 1 cup of the pasta water.
- In a large pan, heat some oil and add the chopped chorizo, make sure you have removed the outer casing. Cook the chorizo for about 4-6 minutes till done. It will be brown at the bottom. Remove the chorizo and set it aside.
- In the same pan, add more oil and sauté the onions and garlic. Sauté for a couple of minutes till it tuns fragrant.
- Add the red peppers and sauté along with the onions and garlic.
- Now add the tomatoes and sauté till the tomato gets soft and mushy. Add salt.
- Add the chorizo and the cooked pasta. If the dish is too thick and dry, add some of the saved pasta water to thin it out
- Add the cheese to this and combine well together.
- Take off heat and transfer it into a large serving bowl. Garnish with basil, crushed black pepper and Parmesan cheese if using it.
Tips & Tricks
- You have to remove the chorizo from its casing before you cook it
- You don’t need too much oil to cook the chorizo as it cooks in its own oil
- You can use any form of tube pasta
- You can use tomato pasta instead of chopped tomatoes
- If you don’t have red peppers, use any other colored peppers
- After cooking the entire dish, you can transfer it into an oven-safe bowl and broil for 5 minutes to get the cheese bubbly and brown.
You can keep the Easy Cheesy Chorizo and Red Pepper Macaroni in the fridge for up to a week. Store it in an airtight container. Before heating it, first let it sit out for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and heat in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Cover it with some baking foil or parchment paper so that moisture can be retained. You can also add some water to keep it from drying out.
You can also heat it in the microwave, make sure to add water to retain moisture. Heat for about 2 minutes and keep heating in 30-second intervals if it is not hot enough. If you are heating over the stove, add a splash of water or stock and heat covered.
You can make this dish ahead, by making the chorizo and sauce ahead. It can be refrigerated for up to two days.
Chorizo is a pork sausage that is heavily seasoned and is popular in both Mexican and Spanish cuisine, although versions of them can be found in many parts of the world like Asia and Latin America. Spanish chorizo is usually dried and cured and gets it red color from paprika. Mexican chorizo is a little bit spicier and seasoned with vinegar and chile peppers and it is usually fresh and uncooked. While they can be used interchangeably in a pinch, they have very different flavor profiles and make for two very distinctive dishes.
The Easy Cheesy Chorizo and Red Pepper Macaroni is a delicious dish with a very specific flavor profile. It is rich, spicy, heavy with a hint of freshness and brightness brought by the basil and pepper. It can’t be substituted too much, but in case of unavailability or allergies, there are a few things you can do.
Macaroni: Traditionally only tube pastas are used for this dish, but you can use a long pasta like spaghetti if that is what you have
Chorizo: There is no actual replacement for chorizo, and it is very easily available in most supermarkets now. Sausage is a poor substitute, but if you have nothing else in hand, opt for a spicy pork sausage.
Red Peppers: These are of course the best for the Easy Cheesy Chorizo and Red Pepper Macaroni but you can use other colors of peppers if that is all you have.
Tomatoes: You can use tomato paste, grape tomatoes or diced Roma tomatoes
Onions: This is optional. You can also always use shallots.
Manchego Cheese: You can use sharp cheddar, shredded Mexican blend, Oaxaca and Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan: This is optional, if you want some additional cheesiness to the dish
Basil: Dried or fresh basil both work great. You can also use parsley and oregano
For extra flavor, you can use vegetable or chicken, beef stock to cook the pasta. You can also sauté the onions, garlic and peppers in butter for a nice rich, buttery taste.
A refreshing, light salad is the perfect accompaniment for a dish as rich and heavy as the Easy Cheesy Chorizo and Red Pepper Macaroni. It also carries a bit of spice, so some roasted greens like grilled beans, broccoli and Brussel sprouts complements this. And bread is also a fantastic option for this.
For more creamy and flavorsome pastas try your hand at this Best Bang Bang Chicken Pasta or this Creamy Chickpea Pasta.