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Milwaukee Takedown Features Fierce Wisconsin Mac & Cheese Competition

Oct 09, 2013

MADISON, Wis. – Talented competitors served up more than 260 pounds of Wisconsin mac and cheese to enthusiastic attendees at the recent Milwaukee Mac and Cheeze Takedown at Lakefront Brewery. The sold-out competition featured 25 entrants who cooked their favorite versions of this iconic cheese dish with a spicy contender winning over both the judges and attendees.
 
Home cooks entered original recipes featuring Wisconsin Cheese to compete for the chance to win $1,000 in cookware prizes. Attendees sampled the entries and voted for their favorite.
 
Brad Brozynski of Pewaukee, Wis., won first place in both the People's Choice and Judge's Picks categories for his Championship Roasted Jalapeño and Pancetta Four Cheese Macaroni. "I wanted to come up with a macaroni and cheese recipe that featured some great Wisconsin cheeses and brought a lot of smoked and spicy components to the dish," Brozynski said of his winning dish, which incorporates four Wisconsin cheeses – Aged Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Smoked Gouda and Fontina.
 
Second place in the People's Choice category was awarded to Debra Chaney for Ultimate Mac & Cheese and third place went to Jill Morris for Smoked 6 Wisconsin Cheeze Macaroni. Second place in the Judges' Picks category was The Widowmaker by Jean Kriesel, and third place was Morel Mac by contestants Brooke Siepel and Casey Stringer.
 
Matt Timms, founder of The Takedown, praised the well-attended event, the skills and enthusiasm of the entrants and the quality and variety of Wisconsin Cheese. The takedown is a nationwide event program that features ingredient-themed cooking events. Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board worked with Timms to sponsor the Milwaukee event, the first held in Milwaukee.
 
For more information about winners and the full list of contestants, visit www.thetakedowns.com. The Championship Roasted Jalapeño and Pancetta Four Cheese Macaroni recipe is included below. For hi-res images, contact Lauren Van Driel at lvandriel@stephanbrady.com or 608-241-4141, ext. 229.
 
For additional questions, contact Heather Porter Engwall at hporterengwall@wmmb.org or 608-203-7235. For more information about Wisconsin Cheese, visit www.EatWisconsinCheese.com.

Championship Roasted Jalapeño and Pancetta Four Cheese Macaroni

By Brad Brozynski
Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:

3 fresh jalapeño peppers
8 ounces pancetta, diced
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups (20 ounces) Wisconsin Aged Cheddar, shredded
3 cups (12 ounces) Wisconsin 3-Pepper Colby Jack or Pepper Jack, shredded
2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin Smoked Gouda, shredded
3/4 cup (3 ounces) Wisconsin Fontina, shredded
1 pound elbow pasta
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place jalapeños on baking sheet and roast about 20 minutes (until charred). Remove and place in resealable plastic bag for 10-15 minutes. Remove peppers from bag, slice in half; remove half of seeds and dice.

Fry pancetta in sauté pan until crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel; set aside.

In sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter and add diced onions. Cook over low heat until caramelized; remove from pan and set aside.

Place heavy whipping cream in sauce pot and warm on low heat.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large sauté pan. Add flour and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Gradually whisk in warmed heavy whipping cream. Cook, stirring often, 8-10 minutes or until mixture is thickened and smooth.

Reduce heat to low. Reserve 1 cup Aged Cheddar. Add remaining cheeses to pan and stir to incorporate. Once all cheese is melted and incorporated, add reserved pancetta, onions and jalapeños; keep warm.

Cook pasta according to package directions in salted boiling water until “al dente.” Drain noodles, return to pot and stir in cheese sauce. Pour mixture into buttered 10 x 15-inch baking dish and sprinkle with reserved Aged Cheddar.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter. In small bowl, combine melted butter and bread crumbs; sprinkle mixture over top of macaroni. Bake 20-25 minutes at 400°F or until golden brown.

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The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is a nonprofit organization of dairy producers that promotes the consumption of milk, cheese and other dairy products made in America’s Dairyland.

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