Do you serve mac and cheese as a Thanksgiving side dish? I never have, but that may change! Chorizo Mac and Cheese is a creamy, slightly spicy side that adds great interest to any meal, and it’s perfect for the Thanksgiving dinner table, too.
I was asked by AARP to try one of its versions of an upgraded mac and cheese recipe. When I saw the options, I could not refuse! Their choices included a lobster version made with mascarpone and Brie (that’s next on my list to try), a butternut squash version with sharp cheddar and Parmesan, and the one I tried, Chorizo Mac and Cheese.
The only detour I took from the AARP version was to use regular cheddar cheese instead of smoky cheddar cheese. What a fun and flavorful dish this turned out to be. The chorizo brings amazing flavor, and the tortilla chip crumbs sprinkled over the top add the perfect amount of crunch that goes well with the creaminess of the dish.
I used Mexican chorizo (fresh, uncooked pork sausage), but you could also use Spanish-style chorizo (dried and cooked), diced small.
I know a lot of people serve mac and cheese as a side dish at Thanksgiving. Pasta is always included at my family’s Thanksgiving dinners, but that’s just an Italian thing, I think! Pasta is included with pretty much any celebration meal.
I could make a meal of the stuffing and sides every year. And of course, dessert! In fact, I’d love to start a new tradition and begin Thanksgiving dinner with dessert. Why not! Everyone needs his or her own tradition, right?
Speaking of dessert, this Thanksgiving, try my Skillet Apple Pie with Salted Caramel Whipped Topping. It makes a pretty presentation and it’s so easy to make. The whipped topping is homemade with Greek yogurt, so feel free to indulge in another slice!
As AARP mentioned to me, restaurants are serving upgraded mac and cheese dishes, and sometimes charging big bucks for them. Why not give Chorizo Mac and Cheese a try at home? With just a few add-ins or a different type of cheese, your dish will be restaurant-worthy without the high prices or reservations.
Do you serve mac and cheese at Thanksgiving? Whether or not you do, I hope you’ll give Chorizo Mac and Cheese a try, either for the holiday, or one night during the week.
If you’d like to try another of my pasta recipes, check these out:
Pasta with Asparagus and Pancetta
Pasta with Rapini and Crispy Chickpeas
Pasta with Kale and Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce
You'll love this upgrade on plain mac and cheese. Perfect for a Thanksgiving side, or as a main dish during the week!
- 8 ounces corkscrew pasta
- 12 ounces chorizo (I used fresh, Mexican-style chorizo)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup tortilla chips, crushed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
- As the pasta is cooking add the chorizo to a skillet and cook until browned. Transfer to a dish and set aside.
- Add the butter to a large clean skillet over medium heat. When melted, add the flour and whisk, cooking for about a minute.
- Add the paprika and milk to the mixture and whisk to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and thick. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and combined.
- Add the pasta, chorizo, and red pepper to the cheese mixture. Toss to combine.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with the tortilla chips and bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly.
- Remove and serve warm.