Spicy Chorizo Pasta
Macaroni and chorizo is classic Spanish comfort food. While iterations abound, it typically starts by frying smoked chorizo with a little onion, adding canned or fresh tomato and maybe some oregano, then letting it simmer into a thick tomato sauce. It’s often topped with cheese and baked like a mac and cheese. Instead of fresh tomatoes, this recipe uses highly concentrated tomato paste, which is made by cooking down tomatoes for ages so you don’t have to. The paste fries in the chorizo’s rendered drippings for a very fast, silky, smoky and spicy sauce. When shopping for this recipe, look for Spanish chorizo, a shelf-stable sausage usually found near salami and other cured meats in the grocery store. Mexican chorizo is sold fresh and is made with different chiles and spices.
- Serves: 4 persons
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1pound orecchiette or other short pasta
- ¼cup olive oil
- 4ounces Spanish chorizo, casing removed (see Tip), if necessary, and thinly sliced
- 3tablespoons double concentrate tomato paste (or 6 tablespoons canned tomato paste)
- 3garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- ½teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Step 1Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, according to package directions, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
Step 2Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and chorizo over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chorizo is crisp and brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the chorizo to a plate.
Step 3Return the pot to medium heat and add the tomato paste and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is caramelized and a shade darker, 3 to 5 minutes, covering the pan if the splattering is wild. Add the red-pepper flakes and a few grinds of black pepper, then remove from heat.
Step 4Add the cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the tomato mixture. Return the pot to the medium-high heat, and stir vigorously until the pasta is well coated. Add more pasta water until the sauce is glossy. Stir in the chorizo and season to taste with salt and pepper.