Idaho® Potato Spanish Mac and Cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (13 oz) package Spanish chorizo (or Portuguese sausage), sliced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 red bell peppers, sliced
- 2 Idaho® potatoes, peeled and shredded
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 ½ cups manchego cheese, shredded
- 1 ½ cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded
- ½ cup green olives, sliced
- 1 pound medium shells (or elbow macaroni)
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs (or plain Italian bread crumbs)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and allow to heat through. Carefully throw in the sliced chorizo (or sausage) and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until crisped and slightly charred. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Throw in the onions, garlic and red bell peppers. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes on medium, until soft and caramelized.
- Peel the potatoes and shred with a box grater or food processor. Place in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse with cold water. Drain really well, squeezing the potatoes to get most of the moisture out. You want them really dry. Add the shredded potatoes to the skillet with the rest of the veggies. Cook for another 5 minutes until soft. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. Stir to evenly combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large saucepot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once fully melted, add in the flour and stir. Cook for about 3 minutes (or until it turns a golden brown) to develop a nutty aroma. Slowly stream in the milk while continuously whisking. Stop whisking once the flour has completely dissolved into the milk. Allow to thicken, stirring every so often. It should take about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder. Remove from heat and add in the shredded cheeses (reserving a little of each for topping later on). Stir with a wooden spoon until melted.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. You want the noodles to be a little undercooked as they’ll continue to cook when the mac and cheese bakes.
- Once the noodles are done, drain and return to pot. Stir in the cheese sauce, sautéed veggies and potatoes, chopped green olives and crisped chorizo (or sausage). Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until evenly combined. Pour into a 9x13 inch-baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs and reserved cheese. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve and enjoy!
Time Saving Tip: For an extra crispier crust, place the mac and cheese under the broiler for a minute or two (keeping an eye on it) for the last five minutes!