They might not have a television show, but Lauren Gaetano and Missy Farahani know how to cook for a cutthroat culinary competition.
The friends have entered three cook-offs hosted during South by Southwest Interactive by Brooklynite Matt Timms and earned a place in the top three in two of them, including one last weekend at Shangri-La.
After four years of Bacon Takedowns, Timms changed the focus this year to macaroni and cheese, and Farahani and Gaetano ended up taking second place with their cornbread-topped macaroni and cheese, which, although not the wackiest or spiciest or most creative, had our judging panel coming back for more and more and more.
Farahani offered to share her winning recipe, which she’s also posted on her blog, Bourbon For Breakfast (bourbonbreakfast.wordpress.com).
Cornbread Mac & Cheese
For the mac and cheese:
1/2 lb. dried small elbow macaroni noodles
2 cups whole milk
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. course ground pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
12 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
For the cornbread:
1 (8.5 oz.) box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
1/3 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 (14.75-oz.) can creamed corn
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 can (about 7 oz.) whole kernel corn
1 (4-oz.) can diced hatch green chilies
6 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Boil macaroni in a large pot of salted water until not quite al dente. Drain and set aside.
Place milk in small pan over medium heat until warm. In another pan on medium high heat, melt butter and whisk in flour. Whisk for about 5 minutes until butter flour mixture is a light golden brown. Add the warm milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg, whisking to remove any lumps and allow to cook until just bubbling. Move from heat and fold in cheese until completely incorporated.
Mix hot cheese mixture with noodles so that noodles are evenly coated. Layer evenly in 13-inch-by-9-inch glass baking dish, pushing down a little so mac is tightly packed.
In a separate bowl, combine all the ingredients for the cornbread. The cornbread mix should have a brownie-like consistency. If it is too thick, add a little more milk. If it is too loose, add a little more sour cream. Pour the cornbread mixture over the mac and cheese and distribute evenly. Do not mix with mac and cheese; mixture should sit right on top and not incorporate.
Bake casserole for about 40 minutes on middle rack, rotating pan about halfway through. Top should be lightly golden, and springy like a cake when done. Cover with foil and allow to set for 10 minutes before serving.
— Missy Farahani and Lauren Gaetano, Bourbon For Breakfast (bourbonbreakfast.wordpress.com)