Spanish Mac ‘n Cheese

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The Pasta Man is a young lawyer from Washington, DC. He cooks a lot of pasta and other things, too. He blogs at www.thepastamanblog.com.

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So a few months ago I showed you how to make the world’s most delicious, easiest mac ‘n cheese on the stovetop. That was pretty good. Heck, that was great. But how often can you eat plain homemade mac ‘n cheese? OK, don’t answer that.

In any event, here’s a variation on a theme: extremely easy stovetop mac ‘n cheese that is amped up with Spanish flavors and roasted cauliflower, which as I have noted in the past, is having a bit of a cultural moment. I call it: El Macaroni de Espana.

The cauliflower is caramelized with distinctive flavor and crunchy texture and the pimenton is smoky and earthy with smoked cheese for even more savory notes and the mac ‘n cheese is creamy and gooey and melty. Yeah, not bad for a weeknight. Plus, it has vegetables!

El Macaroni de Espana (Spanish Mac n Cheese)

Adapted from The Food Lab by Kenji Lopez-Alt

Ingredients

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  • 1 1/2 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 5-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 pound smoky fancy cheese, like smoked Gouda
  • 1/4 lb American cheese
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, cut into hunks
  • Smoked paprika, to taste
  • Frozen peas, to taste (optional)

 

Instructions
  1. Cook pasta in heavily salted water until barely al dente. Meanwhile, toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt, and paprika and roast in a 450 degree oven.
  1. Blend the cheeses in the Magic Bullet, then move them to a bowl with the cornstarch and stir. Add the milk, mustard, cornstarch, and egg to the Magic Bullet and blend or shake until well-mixed.
  1. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and return it to the saucepan. Over low heat, add the butter and then everything else. Stir and season to taste with salt and more paprika and serve while hot.

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