Cooking With the Stars at 54 Below: Joe Iconis Makes Bacon Mac and Cheese

Impress your friends with this recipe by Chef André J. Marrero.

Welcome to the first edition of a new series called Cooking With the Stars at 54 Below, where TheaterMania takes Broadway and cabaret stars who are getting ready to perform and transplant them into the most unlikely of places: the kitchen at supper club 54 Below. And then we make them cook with Chef André J. Marrero.

To begin our series, we invited Drama Desk-nominated musical-theater writer Joe Iconis to prepare a serving of bacon mac and cheese in anticipation of his upcoming Joe Iconis and Family concerts on October 12 and 18. Check out photos from the experience in the gallery below and use the recipe, reprinted for your convenience, to try this delicious dish at home!

Bacon Mac and Cheese
Béchamel sauce (see recipe below)
Cavatappi pasta, cooked in salted water
Smoked Gruyère, shredded
Bacon lardons, cooked

Béchamel Sauce:
1 cup of butter, cubed
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 qt. milk
1 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. nutmeg, grated
White pepper
First, make a roux then use that to thicken the milk. Melt butter slowly on medium heat. Slowly whisk in flour a bit at a time. When all of the flour is combined, cook roux for 5 minutes. In separate sauce pot, bring milk to high simmer. Slowly whisk in roux to thicken milk. Season with cayenne, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

To assemble Mac and Cheese:
Cook pasta according to box instructions. At the same time, cut the slab of bacon into small thick strips, pencil width, and cook slowly with a small amount of oil. In a clean frying pan, heat up béchamel sauce to simmer. Toss in hot pasta along with some of the pasta water. Mix in some of the shredded Gruyère and stir until melted. Toss in some bacon. Mount into black cast-iron pot. Top with more bacon, Gruyère, and panko bread crumbs, and place in broiler for 30 seconds to melt topping. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

For tickets to Joe Iconis at 54 Below, click here.