Northeast Ohio is the home of meat and cheese. It’s what we do, and any trip to the West Side Market will verify it. Produce? It’s relegated to the semi-outdoor pavilion where celery and beet greens are whipped in your direction by vendors in a way that is either good sales tactics of flagellation to cleanse you before entering the shrine of all things moo, cluck, and oink.
It made sense, then, to whip up a dish that celebrates our great love for meats, cheeses, alcohol, and cardiologists: mac and cheese. This is inspired by one of my favorite meals at Woodstock, the smoked Turkey apple brie sandwich, and one of my favorite chasers for it: the Pickleback.
You Will Need:
– A large enameled cast iron pot
– Pasta strainer
– Multiple oven-safe bowls
– Cheese grater (if you got block cheese)
The Mac Ingredients:
- 2 cups rotini noodles
- 2 tbsp Irish salted butter, plus a bit to wipe the inside of your oven-safe bowls
- 1 lb Smoked Turkey, chopped
- 4 oz chopped prosciutto
- 1 can of rinsed fire-roasted corn (or make your own)
- 1/2 cup chopped pickles
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- 1 tbsp Hot Sauce
- 1/4-1/2 cup crushed potato chips
- Optional: 4 slices of Provolone
The Mac Instructions:
- In the stockpot, cook the pasta in saltwater following the package instructions
- Strain the pasta
- In the pasta stockpot, add the butter, turkey, prosciutto, fire-roasted corn, chopped pickles, green onion, and hot sauce.
- STIR IT UP
- Add prepared pasta
- Set aside
The Cheese Ingredients: Cheese Sauce
- 1/2 lb Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1/2 lb Havarti Cheese, shredded
- 1/2 lb Colby Jack Cheese, shredded
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed and diced
- 1/2 cup scallion, diced
- 1 cup Rosé
- 1 1/2 oz Cleveland Whiskey Smokin’ Bourbon
- 1 oz pickle juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- A pinch or two of nutmeg
The Cheese Instructions: Cheese Sauce
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the shredded cheese with the cornstarch, coating it thoroughly.
- Rub your enameled cast iron pot with the two smashed garlic cloves and toss them.
- Turn the heat to medium, add no more than a tsp of olive oil (just enough to keep things from sticking), and let it heat up to a shine.
- Toss in the diced scallion and garlic, add a pinch of salt and stir to prevent burning.
- Once your aromatics are translucent, add the rosé and bring it to a simmer.
- When the wine begins to simmer, add the Smokin’ Bourbon, pickle juice, and Dijon mustard and let it simmer for two minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and SLOWLY add your cheese mixture, one handful at a time and whisk constantly. Do not use a spoon: you need a whisk for this and put that arm to work.
- When your fondue is uniform and silky smooth, stir in a pinch or two of nutmeg and turn the heat down to its lowest setting.
- Do not cover the fondue
The Mac n Cheese
- Take your noodle salad and add it into the fondue, stirring and coating until it is totally combined and uniform.
- Preheat your over to 350 degrees
- Put Mac and Cheese in a casserole dish, cover the top with slices of provolone cheese, sprinkle on your ground-up potato chips, and put it in the oven until the crumbs brown and the pot is bubbling around the sides, usually around 15 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped parsley, a bit of lemon zest, fresh ground pepper and salt to taste.
- Optional: Add additional hot sauce to taste