Editor’s note: We seek recipes from Triangle restaurants requested by readers.
I would love to have the homemade macaroni and cheese recipe from Durham’s Tobacco Road Sports Cafe that my granddaughter and I enjoyed so much recently.
Diane Earnhardt, Zebulon
Tobacco Road Sports Cafe is undergoing big changes this year, but Executive Chef Ryan Foxworth said the highly popular Mac & Cheese isn’t going anywhere.
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The dish has been on the menu for six years, he said, and features a creamy Béchamel sauce, Cabot cheddar, Parmesan and sauteed country ham. A lot of customers like to dress it up with mushrooms, spinach, shrimp and even Buffalo chicken, he said.
The staff at all three locations – Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh – prepares more than 500 servings to order every month, he said.
“That was on our menu before I came on board, and that’s one of those things that I’m not going to touch. Leave it as is, because everybody seems to love it,” Foxworth said.
Brothers Alex, Brian and Rommie Amra opened their first Tobacco Road Sports Cafe in 2008 on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. That location closed in January and reopened in the former Natty Greene’s Pub building around the corner at 505 W. Jones St.
They’ll start brewing beer on West Jones Street in the next few months, Foxworth said. Tobacco Road brews will be served at all three locations.
“This is our first endeavor in it. We hired the brewer from Top of the Hill – Chris Atkins – who’s been with Top of the Hill for about eight years – and we feel really lucky to have him on board with us,” Foxworth said.
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Want to try it?
▪ The restaurant: Tobacco Road Sports Cafe has three locations. tobaccoroadsportscafe.com
505 W. Jones St., Raleigh, 919-301-8793
280 S. Mangum St., Durham; 919-937-9909
1118 Environ Way, Chapel Hill; 919-537-8404
▪ Make it at home: Find this recipe and other restaurant news on Page 2.
Mac & Cheese
Chef Ryan Foxworth said the Béchamel sauce “holds fantastic” and can be made the day before. You also can add any extras you like to the dish before broiling, he said, noting that Tobacco Road guests love to add mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, fried buffalo chicken, and even steak or shrimp.
1 pound cooked macaroni noodles
6 ounces country ham, diced in quarter-inch pieces
6 cups Béchamel sauce (see recipe below)
1 pound shredded sharp Cabot cheddar
1/2 pound shredded Parmesan
Cook the macaroni according to directions. Set aside.
In a large pot, add the country ham and cook until crispy. Do not drain.
Add the Béchamel sauce. Combine the cheddar and Parmesan together and add 3/4 of the cheese mixture to the Béchamel sauce. Stir until combined.
Add the pasta and stir. Pour the mixture into a greased 8-by-11-inch, broiler-safe casserole dish and top with the last of the cheese mixture.
Place under broiler in oven until browned.
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
In a large stock pot, melt the butter and stir in the flour with a whisk. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to brown. Slowly add milk while stirring.
Once combined, add onion, bay leaf, thyme and nutmeg, and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Let simmer for 10 minutes. The sauce should be thick and creamy. Strain and cool.