Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spanish "Mac and Cheese"

Yesterday my evening meal was inspired by a stop into Williams-Sonoma. I happened across a recipe by Michael Voltaggio of Top Chef fame. (the cocky brother). It struck me so much, I left the store with the recipe and rice and went directly to the store to buy Manchego and chorizo.

Bomba rice is short grain primo rice grown in Calasparra. It looks like arborio - see the little pearl in the grains? The difference? Bomba is able to absorb three times its volume in liquid and yet remain individual rather than become creamy like arborio. This is the only rice for paella.

Unfortunately, I decided to post this after I had gotten some of the prep done so I don't have the greatest of pictures to share - just the greatest recipe. Spanish chorizo differs from Mexican chorizo in that it is flavored with garlic and paprika rather than peppers. This dry aged sausage is packed with flavor and available mild or piquant. Check out this recipe for other ways to use it. Better pictures, too.

After sweating the onion and garlic, add the rice, bay and saffron. I chose not to use the saffron because I detest it. Perhaps what I mean is if you don't want to invest in it for this dish which is a bit costly in the first place, you can skip it. Coat the rice with the oil until it becomes translucent then deglaze the pan with sherry.

Now begin to add the water one cup at a time. Once it has been absorbed add another cup. The above picture is a a few minutes away from ready for more water.

Add the cream (or 1/2 + 1/2 if you're healthy like me) goat cheese, ignore the additional calories, don't drool in the pan.

Top with grated Manchego and pop it under the broiler. My broiler is particularly hot and it was only in about 6 minutes. Keep an eye on it.

Ta-Da! This twist on mac and cheese is beyond fabulous and a great cold weather meal. We enjoyed it with sauteed swiss chard (mmmmm...healthy) and bread. It only took about an hour to put together and was well worth the effort.

Though it was not in keeping with my new attempts to eat more healthfully....what the hell!

Now I am going to go make cookies.

MichaelVotaggio's Spanish-Inspired "Mac and Cheese"

1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup diced yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups diced Spanish chorizo
1 1/2 cups Bomba rice
Pinch of saffron (I didn't use it)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry sherry, preferably Manzanilla (I used what I had)
4 cups water
1 cup heavy cream (I used 1/2 + 1/2)
2 cups coarsely grated soft Spanish goat cheese (I used chevre)
kosher salt, to taste
1 1/2 cup grated Manchego
2 T. chopped fresh chives

In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5-6 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the chorizo and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice, saffron and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the sherry and cook until absorbed.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the water 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each addition has been absorbed and the rice is just al dente, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Fold in the goat cheese and season with salt. Transfer the rice to a casserole dish or large fry pan (I kept it in the pan I prepared it in) and sprinkle with the Manchego on top. Broil until the cheese is golden brown, about 8 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. Garnish with chives

Serve 6-8

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