Pittsburgh Kielbasa and Bacon Braised Cabbage Mac-n-Cheese
Adapted from a recipe by Chef Christopher Bonfili of Avenue B
5501 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Continuing with the football theme, this is the recipe that I make for Danielle’s team. The first time I made this it was such a hit with everyone. Even though there is a lot of work involved, this recipe makes a ton, and I even cut the original recipe in half. You will have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day, and believe me, it gets even better after it sits.
The list of ingredients is long and diverse, and you may look at it and be discouraged or think that some of those things do not go together. Stick with the plan and you will be pleasantly surprised. You will need a large skillet, a casserole dish, a pot, several bowls and three hours to soak your cabbage before you can even start cooking this dish, but it is so worth it. Avenue B’s Chef Bonfili came up with this recipe, which is a nod to the Polish heritage of Pittsburgh. As you take a bite, you are bombarded with so many different flavors. It is Polish comfort food at its best. Enjoy!
1/2 head green cabbage
1 pound elbow macaroni
6 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 large Spanish onion, diced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 pound Kielbasa, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded
1/8 cup Tabasco (If you don’t like spicy food, this is a lot of Tabasco. Tone it down a little if you must, but don’t remove it totally.)
1 1/2 teaspoon honey
salt and pepper
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, snipped
3 green onions, sliced
1. Dice cabbage and soak in cold water for 3 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F .
3. Cook elbow macaroni until al dente, drain.
4. Spray a large skillet with Pam and saute sliced Kielbasa until the edges are blistered. Remove Kielbasa.
5. Cook bacon in the large skillet til done, remove bacon but leave the fat in the skillet.
6. Saute onions in the bacon fat until they are translucent. Drain the cabbage and add it to the skillet. Stir.
7. Mix together the vinegar and sugar. Add the mixture to the skillet, stir, and reduce the heat. Cover the skillet and cook on low until the cabbage is tender.
8. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, Kielbasa, bacon, braised cabbage, cream, cheeses, tabasco and honey. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Season with salt and pepper and mix again.
9. Spray a large casserole dish with Pam and transfer the mixture into it. Cover the dish with foil and bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
10. Mix Panko breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, and green onions together in a small bowl.
11. Remove foil from pan after 30 minutes and sprinkle Panko mixture over top of casserole. Bake uncovered until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.