Spanish Mac and Cheese


Briny olives balance out the rich sauce in this twist on hamburger mac.

Spanish Mac and Cheese
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 cups shredded Manchego cheese
  • 1 (16-ounce) package elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • Garnish: sliced green olives, chopped fresh oregano, shredded Manchego cheese, smoked paprika
  1. In a large cast-iron Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef, paprika, 1½ teaspoons salt, cumin, and pepper; cook until beef is browned and crumbly, about 5 minutes. Remove beef using a slotted spoon, reserving drippings in pot, and let drain on paper towels.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pot; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and remaining 1½ teaspoons salt; cook for 1 minute. Whisk in milk until smooth. Stir in tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium; cook for 3 minutes. Gradually stir in cheese until melted. Stir in beef, cooked pasta, and oregano. Garnish with olives, oregano, cheese, and paprika, if desired.