Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese

Make a run for the border with this unusual version of mac and cheese. Nopalitos (cactus) and cheese sauce are staples in Tex-Mex cooking.

3 pounds Barilla pasta
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds finely diced onions
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 pounds casings removed chorizo sausage
3 - 15 1/2 ounce jars red salsa
3 - 15 1/2 ounce jars green salsa
3 - 15 ounce jars drained and diced cactus (nopalitos)
3 - 15 ounce jars salsa con queso (cheese sauce)
3 ounces whipping cream
3 ounces white wine or chicken broth
3 ounces chopped fresh parsley
3 ounces chopped fresh basil
3 ounces chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Cook the Barilla pasta for half the time indicated on the package. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. Alternatively, cool it down in a walk-in fridge. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.
  2. Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until translucent. Add the sausage and sauté for 2 to 3
    minutes. Add both kinds of salsa and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cactus, cheese sauce,
    cream, and wine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add herbs to the sauce and stir.

For each serving, to order: Reheat 1 cup pasta in boiling salted water for 40 to 60 seconds. Drain and warm in a pan with 1 cup sauce.