Pimento Cheese & Chorizo Mac

“This Spanish American twist on classic mac ’n’ cheese tastes like pimento cheese spread wrapped up in macaroni rather than bread. If you can’t find piquillo peppers, pimientos are delicious, too.” —Rachael Ray
Pimento Cheese & Chorizo Mac

Recipe by Rachael Ray

  • Serves 4 to 6 as an entrée or 8 to 10 as a sideServings


  • Salt
  • 1 lb. macaroni with lines or other short pasta (such as penne or cavatappi, a corkscrew pasta)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 package (12 to 16 oz.) hot or mild Spanish-style chorizo, casings removed and meat coarsely crumbled or diced (I like Gaspar’s; chorizo is a fully cooked product similar in size and texture to kielbasa and is located in the refrigerated case)
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • About 1/4 tsp. cayenne or hot paprika
  • 2 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar
  • 2 cups grated Manchego cheese
  • 1 jar (about 8 oz.) piquillo peppers in water, drained and diced, or 2 jars (4 oz. each) diced pimiento peppers, drained
  • For garnish
  • thinly sliced scallions, cut on an angle, and chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • For salad: tomatoes, Spanish onion, romaine, and Spanish olives dressed with lemon juice, EVOO, and sea salt (for an entrée)


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, and cook the pasta until 1 minute shy of al dente. Drain well.

2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the oil, one turn of the pan, over medium-high. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat renders and the meat is light brown, about 2 minutes; drain on a paper towel–lined plate.

3. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven; preheat the broiler.

4. In a large sauce pot, melt the butter with the garlic over medium to medium-high heat and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the flour. When it bubbles, whisk in the milk; season with salt and the cayenne. Whisk until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.  

5. In a large bowl, mix the cheeses. Add 3 cups of the cheese mixture to the sauce, 1 cup at a time, stirring until melted and smooth between additions. Remove from heat and stir in the piquillo peppers. 

6. Mix the pasta and chorizo into the cheese sauce and pour into a 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese mixture; broil until browned and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes. Top with the scallions and parsley. For an entrée, serve with the salad.