I’ve been on a chorizo kick lately. With chorizo-topped chicken waffles, surf ‘n’ turf bites, and chorizo-stuffed mushrooms, you’d think that’s pretty much all I eat. You’d only be a little wrong – chorizo is definitely always on the shopping list!
A friend of mine recently moved nearby, and so to help warm his home, I made him some choriziti!
Choriziti is a dish that combines the rich flavors of chorizo sausage with a creamy, cheesy pasta bake. It’s a delightful medley of textures and tastes that will surely satisfy your cravings. The best part? Most of these ingredients can be found on my basic shopping list, so it’s a great way to make use of what you already have in your kitchen.
Here’s What You Need
- Chorizo sausages: Adds rich and flavorful spiciness to the dish.
- Ziti noodles: The main pasta component of the dish.
- Favorite pasta sauce: Provides a tangy and savory base for the recipe.
- Red onion: Adds a mild sweetness and depth of flavor.
- Garlic: Infuses aromatic essence and enhances overall taste.
- Small curd cottage cheese: Creates a creamy and slightly tangy component in the dish.
- Egg: Helps bind the ingredients together.
- Diced tomatoes: Adds juiciness and contributes to the rich, savory sauce.
- Mozzarella cheese: Melts into a gooey, golden crust and adds a cheesy touch.
- Olive oil: Used for cooking the chorizo and sautéing onions and garlic.
- Fresh basil: Provides a fresh and herbal note to the dish.
- Oregano: Adds earthy and aromatic flavors.
- Thyme: Adds a subtle herbal taste.
Let’s Get Started
Now, let’s talk about the star of the show: chorizo. For those of you who may not be familiar, chorizo is essentially just a type of sausage encased in intestines. It adds a wonderful depth of flavor and a hint of spiciness to any dish it graces.
To use it in this recipe, you’ll need to remove the casing in order to sufficiently crumble the sausage. It’s easier to remove the casing prior to cooking. Once that’s done, toss the whole decased chorizo into a pan with a touch of oil to start the browning and crumbling process.
As the chorizo finishes browning, add in some onions and garlic to infuse their aromatic essence into the mix.
The sizzling combination of chorizo, onions, and garlic will fill your kitchen with an irresistible smell that will make your hungry neighbors come knocking at your door!
To bring all the flavors together, it’s time to introduce the tomatoes. No need to drain them; the juices will mingle with the chorizo and create a rich, savory sauce. Sprinkle in some herbs to enhance the overall taste and let the mixture simmer for a little while, allowing the flavors to meld and develop.
While the chorizo mix finishes cooking, let’s prepare the base of our choriziti. In a separate bowl, blend together some eggs and cottage cheese. The addition of cottage cheese gives the dish a creamy and slightly tangy component that perfectly complements the robustness of the chorizo. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, and once it’s al dente, combine it with the cottage cheese mixture in a large glass pan. Make sure the pasta is evenly coated and spread it out to create a solid foundation for our flavorful layers.
Now comes the fun part—layering! Spoon the cooked chorizo mixture over the pasta, distributing it evenly to ensure every bite is bursting with flavor. Add another layer of the cottage cheese mixture on top to add a creamy and cheesy element. And because we can never have too much cheese, sprinkle some mozzarella on the very top for that irresistible golden crust.
Preheat your oven to a moderate temperature and carefully place your creation inside. I baked mine covered with foil for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the cheese to melt beautifully. Then, I removed the foil, added an extra sprinkle of cheese on top (because who can resist?), and let it bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese turned golden and bubbly.
But as we all know, oven times may vary, so keep a close eye on your choriziti as it bakes to ensure it reaches that perfect level of cheesy goodness. Once it’s done, take it out and let it cool for a few minutes. The anticipation will be nearly unbearable, but trust me, it’s worth the wait.
Tips & Tricks
- Casing removal: When removing the casings from the chorizo sausages, make a shallow incision along the length of the sausage and gently peel the casing away. This will help you crumble the sausage easily.
- Simmering tomatoes: When adding the diced tomatoes to the chorizo mixture, allow it to simmer for a bit. This will help the flavors blend together and create a rich, savory sauce.
- Proper layering: When layering the ingredients in the glass pan, ensure even distribution. Spread the pasta, cottage cheese, chorizo mixture, and mozzarella cheese in even layers to ensure every bite is balanced and delicious.
- Covering with foil: Covering the dish with foil during the initial baking time helps retain moisture and prevents excessive browning. It ensures that the pasta cooks evenly and prevents it from drying out.
- Cheese topping: Adding an extra sprinkle of mozzarella cheese on top during the uncovered baking time creates a golden and bubbly crust that adds a delightful cheesy texture to the dish.
- Oven variations: Keep an eye on the dish while it bakes, as oven times may vary. Adjust the baking time accordingly, and check for the desired level of bubbling and browning of the cheese.
- Resting before serving: Allow the baked choriziti to rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to settle and makes it easier to portion and serve.
- In case the dish appears dry during baking, try adding a little extra pasta sauce or a splash of water to maintain its moisture.
- If you notice the top of the dish browning too quickly, simply cover it loosely with foil to avoid further browning while allowing the inside to cook thoroughly.
- To tackle an oily chorizo mixture, consider draining off some of the excess oil after browning the chorizo before incorporating the onions and garlic.
Serve generous portions of this hearty delight to your hungry people, and watch their eyes light up as they dive into the creamy layers of pasta, the spicy and flavorful chorizo, and the gooey goodness of melted cheese. It’s a dish that will warm both the body and the soul.
So, next time you’re in the mood for something indulgent and comforting, give this baked choriziti a try. It’s a game of “what’s in my fridge door” that will leave you with a smile on your face and a satisfied appetite.
- 3 chorizo sausages cases removed
- 1 cup favorite pasta sauce
- 1 red onion chopped
- 8 cloves garlic
- 3 cups small curd cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- 16 oz diced tomato
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil chopped
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 box ziti noodles cooked according to package
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Prepare the ziti according to the instructions on the box. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the sausages, casings removed, until browned and crumbled.
- Add the onions to the pan along with the garlic and sauté until the onions have softened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the diced tomatoes, undrained, and bring to a simmer.
- Chop the herbs and sprinkle them into the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- In a small bowl, beat together the cottage cheese, egg, and 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.
- In a glass pan, add the cooked pasta, followed by a layer of cottage cheese, then a layer of mozzarella.
- Next, add all of the chorizo mixture, followed by the remaining cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove the foil, top with more mozzarella, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling. Serve and enjoy!