Everyone has their go-to bar for a stiff drink and great food and Shanghai Tunnel bar is IT for me! I love the seedy underground vibe, good music blasted at a deafening level, and the fact that once we close the bar down we’re just an alleyway walk away from Voodoo Doughnut. It’s everything you want out of a dive bar, but the best part is their food! Every time we take friends from out of town to eat there, they give us this look that’s saying, “This place has food…that’s edible?” Their tune quickly changes when they find themselves devouring every last bit of their noodle bowl or mac and cheese. This is my tribute to Shanghai and all of their amazingness.. my mac and cheese pales in comparison to theirs, but it’s still damn good. Try it at home or just come visit Portland and check it out firsthand!
4 strips of thick cut peppered bacon
2 cups macaroni pasta
½ cup bell pepper, diced
1 cup broccoli, chopped into small pieces
¼ cup shredded carrot
1 medium sized tomato, diced
2-3 stalks green onion, finely chopped
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
3-4 Tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup (4oz) sharp cheddar, shredded
1 cup (4oz) pepper jack, shredded
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
And don’t you dare forget about the Sriracha!
(1.) Cook bacon in a large skillet until crispy. Transfer pieces to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Reserve roughly 1 tablespoon of bacon grease for sautéing the vegetables in. Once bacon has cooled, break into small pieces. (2.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and return to pot. Add a spat of butter or tablespoon of olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking. Cover and set aside. (3.) Place the skillet over medium heat and add bell pepper, broccoli, and carrots once hot. Saute for 2-3 minutes and add tomato and green onion. Season with crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper. Saute for another 2 minutes or until broccoli is bright green. (4.) Add sautéed vegetables to the pot with macaroni. Cover and set aside.
(5.) In the same skillet (I’m a big fan of re-using dishes while cooking..less hand washing!), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. (6.) Whisk in flour and cook for another minute. (7.) Slowly pour in milk and stir until mixture is slightly thickened. (8.) Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheeses until melted. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
(9.) Pour over macaroni and vegetables, add crumbled bacon, and toss until evenly coated. Turn oven to broiler setting (500 degrees F). (10.) Transfer to a large casserole dish and (11.) top with panko breadcrumbs. (12.) Place in the oven under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Remove from the oven, dish it up, and top with Sriracha!