Today is National Mac and Cheese Day and you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy all the delights of this comfort food.

Chef Oscar Padilla with Toro restaurant in Cherry Creek says that mac and cheese is one those dishes you can be creative.

Here’s Chef Oscar’s Pork Belly Mac & Cheese recipe:

Pick up

160      gr         mac & cheese sauce SUB

120      gr         cooked pasta (rotini spiral) SUB

kosher salt (to taste)

Boiling water for reheating the pasta

40        gr         ground Chorizo

50        gr         roasted pork belly cut in cubes (1 inch)

25        gr         panko chorizo crust SUB

1          oz         whiskey (Stranahan’s)

Before the service starts, toast the panko chorizo, either in the salamander or in the oven until it gets crispy, maintain the crispy panko chorizo in the “window heat lamp” (pass). You have to do this process on daily basis.

In a sauté pan, cook the chorizo and the pork belly until have a golden brown color, flambe with whiskey and add the mac & cheese sauce, salt and pepper; in the meantime reheat the pasta in a pot of simmering water; once the sauce is hot, add the pasta and combine, place the mac & cheese into hot skillet, garnish with the crispy chorizo panko and chives.

Mac & Cheese Sauce SUB

2          kg        heavy cream (4.4 lbs)

560      gr         grated mild cheddar cheese (19.75 oz)

580      gr         Velveeta cheese (20.45 oz)

30        gr         corn starch (1.0oz)

40        gr         water (1.41 oz)

In a pot, heat up the heavy cream, then add the mild cheddar cheese and Velveeta cheese. Whisk until cheeses have melted, then in a small bowl mix the corn starch and the water, then add to the cheese sauce and whisk while adding the corn starch. Cook the cheese sauce until the corn starch thickens to a creamy cheesy sauce (medium nappe), blend with the hand blender to make sure no cheese chunks and strain. Cool down, keep in the walk-in.

Cooked pasta SUB

1          kg        spiral pasta (2.2 lbs)

15        lt          water (3.96 gallons)

20        gr         kosher salt (0.70 oz)

30        ml        blend olive oil (1.05 oz)

In a pot combine the water and the salt, bring to boil, once the water is at a boil add the pasta, cook until the pasta is “al dente” (cooked but firm), strain, place the pasta on a sheet pan, add the blend olive oil, mixed well and cooled down, once is cold, portion pasta into portion bags weighing 150 gr.

Panko Chorizo Crumbs SUB

2100    gr         chorizo (fine diced) (4.6 lbs)

460      gr         Japanese panko

620      gr         shredded parmesan cheese (villa frizzani, it is a kind of imitation parmesan cheese)

In a pot cook the chorizo on a medium heat until the chorizo gets crispy. Once cooled down put it in the robo coupe to eliminate chunky pieces, strain the fat from the chorizo with a chinois, then transfer to a large tray to cool down and reserve. On a tray, toast the panko until you get a golden brown color at 135°C (275°F), be careful not to burn the panko, check the panko every 3-5 min and stir the panko, once the panko is crispy, cool down and reserve. In the robo-coupe, process the parmesan cheese until you get the same texture like the chorizo and the panko, once you have all the ingredients done and cold, mix all ingredients in a bowl. Reserve for service in the pass or under the heat lamp to keep the panko chorizo crispy.