Meet the Neelys: Pat and Gina, husband-and-wife team, hosts of their own television show, and proprietors of the celebrated Memphis and Nashville eateries, Neely's Bar-B-Que.
The Neelys' down-home approach to cooking has earned them the highest accolades from coast to coast. It has also won them millions of viewers on the Food Network. Simply put, the Neelys are all about good food and good times. In this, their eagerly awaited debut cookbook, the Neelys share the delicious food they have been cooking up for years both at home and in their restaurants.
Pat and Gina hail from families with a boundless love of cooking and bedrock traditions of sharing meals. At the Neelys', mealtime is family time, and that means no stinting on "the sauce." Indeed, that's one of the Neely secrets: the liberal application of barbeque sauce to almost anything--spaghetti, nachos, salad, you name it. Of course, there are other secrets as well, and you will find them all in the pages of Down Home with the Neelys, along with more than 120 mouthwatering recipes.
Here are the tried-and-true southern recipes that have been passed down from one Neely generation to the next, including many of their signature dishes, such as Barbeque Deviled Eggs, Florida Coast Pickled Shrimp, Pat's Wings of Fire, Gina's Collard Greens, Grandma Jean's Potato Salad, Nana's Southern Gumbo, Memphis-sized Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Slaw, Get Yo' Man Chicken, and Sock-It-to-Me Cake. Certainly, no self-respecting southerner would dream of offering a meal to a guest without a proper drink, so Pat and Gina have included some of their favorite libations here, too.
The Neelys work, laugh, love, and play harder than any family you'll ever meet. Their love for good food is infectious, and in Down Home with the Neelys, they bring their heavenly inspired cooking down to earth for all to share.
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May 12, 2009
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Excerpt from Down Home with the Neelys by Patrick Neely
Pat: When I was growing up in Memphis, everyone had their own special mac-and-cheese recipe. Traditionally, the matriarchs used elbow noodles, but my girls love experimenting with different pasta, and we fell in love with cavatappi, because its tubular spiral shape holds plenty of cheese sauce, making every forkful a delight (of course, old-fashioned elbows will also work just fine.)
A piquant, cheesy white sauce and a crispy topping made from potato chips and bacon creates the best--and most indulgent--version of mac and cheese that we have ever tasted. Served alongside roast chicken, or with a simple green salad and a glass of great red wine, this is the ultimate comfort food.
Cheese Corkscrews with Crunchy Bacon Topping
SERVES 6 to 8
6 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing
1 pound cavatappi (or other tubular pasta)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, warmed
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Dash hot sauce
Dash Worcestershire sauce
4 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Crunchy Bacon Topping
1 1/2 cups crushed potato chips
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
3 tablespons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 375? F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish.
2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta until it's al dente.
3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the warmed milk, and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly (the mixture will thicken as the heat increases).
4. Stir the dry mustard, salt, black pepper, cayenne, nutmeg, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce into the thickened milk. Stir in 3 cups of the cheddar, and the Pecorino Romano, until the cheeses melt.
5. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, and toss to combine.
6. Pour the cheese-apalooza mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
7. Make the topping: In a medium bowl, combine the potato chips, Pecorino Romano, crumbled bacon, parsley, and the remaining cheddar. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the macaroni and cheese, and bake for 35 minutes. For a crunchier topping, finish under the broiler for 3 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven, and cool for 5 minutes before serving.