Milwaukee's Pabst Theater Hosts Mac and Cheeze Takedown Event

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Local mac and cheese chefs will once again battle for culinary glory at the second annual Mac & Cheeze Takedown on Oct. 5. The event, sponsored by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, will take place at the Turner Hall Ballroom in the Pabst Theater. The Takedown hosts ingredient-themed cook-off events in cities across the country.

Tickets are available for $15 per person and include unlimited mac and cheese samples throughout the event. Additionally, home cooks and local chefs are invited to enter their original mac and cheese recipes and serve their creations on-site. Recipes must incorporate at least one Wisconsin Cheese to be eligible. Winners will be announced in both the People's Choice and Judges' Choice categories and awarded a collection of cookware supplies worth $1,000.

For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit For mac and cheese inspiration and recipes, visit Download a recipe and photo of one of last year's winning recipes, Guanciale and Morel Mac and Cheese. For additional questions, contact Heather Porter Engwall at or 608-203-7235.

Guanciale and Morel Mac and Cheese

By Brooke Seipel and Casey Stringer

Servings: 8


For topping:
3 tablespoons butter
1-1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
Salt to taste
For mac and cheese:
1 pound cavatappi pasta
1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk
2 eggs
3 cups Wisconsin fontina cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound guanciale or pancetta, chopped
1 1/2 large shallots, sliced into strips
3/4 cups dried morel or porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in boiling water and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 cup Madeira
4 tablespoons butter

To prepare topping, add butter to small pan over medium high heat. After butter melts, add breadcrumbs and salt to taste. Cook, stirring often, until breadcrumbs begin to brown and crisp. Remove from heat and set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, slowly beat together evaporated milk and eggs until evenly mixed. Add shredded cheese to mixture and stir until cheese is fully incorporated.
Add salt and pepper to taste and set bowl aside.

In large skillet, cook guanciale over medium heat until crispy, about 8-10 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove meat from pan and set aside.

Add sliced shallots to rendered fat in skillet and sauté on medium heat until shallots begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes.

Add chopped rehydrated morels and thyme to onions and cook 5-8 minutes.

When mushrooms begin to caramelize and slightly brown, add Madeira to deglaze pan, scraping bottom with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Cook 1-2 minutes until liquid is reduced by half.

Add butter and 3/4 of reserved guanciale and reduce heat to medium low.

Pour cheese mixture into pan while constantly stirring. Continue mixing until cheese disappears into sauce and sauce begins to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove pot from stove and stir in noodles.

Sprinkle with bread crumb mixture and other 1/4 of reserved guanciale. Serve immediately.