Thursday, March 24, 2011

Truffled Mac and Cheese

It's been a long winter filled with fondue, fondue, and even more fondue.  I wanted some change.  I also love melted cheese.  I said some change not drastic change.  So macaroni and cheese it was! Lucky for me, my friends like melted cheese as much as I do!

Over the holidays, a friend made truffled mac and cheese for a holiday party.  This sounded amazing and so I set off to find the best truffled mac and cheese recipe.  I ended up mixing two different recipes (one that my friend used, and the other that I found online).  The result was perfectly crusted, impeccably cheesey and truffley.  I know the latter is not a word but I'm making it one.

The last time I made mac and cheese, I almost burned down the apartment.  Or at least our apartment smelled like I had for days after the incident.  This time I was smart.  I put a baking ban underneath my mac and cheese dish.  I suggest that you do the same.

I actually don't know what drives the varying flavor between white and black truffles, though I can certainly taste the difference.  If I'm not mistaken - white truffles are Italian and black truffles are French, but that is all I know.  In my personal opinion, I also think white truffle oil is more aromatic.  Feel free to leave a comment at the end if you can provide further insight.

{White Truffle Oil}

{Preparing the Roux}

{Incorporating the Boiled Pasta into the Roux}

{Ready to Bake!}

{Lightly Toasted}

Lavina also made caipirinhas - with freshly muddled lime!

Truffled Mac & Cheese, adapted from Food & Wine and here

Serves 6

Time: About 1 hour

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cups milk (I used 4 cups whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream b/c I had heavy cream around)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese (about 1 pound), at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup Gorgonzola (about 4 ounces), at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 6 ounces), at room temperature and divided
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2-3 tbsp. white truffle oil
You can, and should, grate the cheese in advance because this part takes forever.  Or I guess you could buy some of it pre-shredded. 

In a very large pot of salted, boiling water, prepare the macaroni per the directions on the box.  

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the milk and bring it to a simmer.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt 6 tbsp. of the butter in a large saucepan.  Add the flour and stir over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until lightly golden brown (about 5 minute).  Remove from the heat.

Graduatlly whisk the simmering milk into the flour and butter mixture until smooth.  Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook over low heat, whisking, until thick and bubbling - 7-10 minutes.  Stir in the mustard, salt and pepper.  Add the Cheddar, Gorgonzola and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, and cook over low heat, stirring, just until melted.  Drizzle in about 1 tbsp. of the white truffle oil, stirring to mix.  Fold in the macaroni until coated with sauce.  Spread the macaroni into a 3-quart baking dish. 

In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs, the remaining Parmesan, and 1 tbsp. of the truffle oil together.  

Top the macaroni and cheese in the dish with the breadcrumbs.  Bake for about 25 minutes - until the top is golden brown.  

After you have baked the mac and cheese, preheat the broiler.  Brown the macaroni under the broiler for 10-15 seconds.  Let it stand 15 minutes before serving.  

We accompanied our cheese feast with salad (including home made dressing) and the fresh caipirinhas I noted above.  

Ending Notes: Next time, I would definitely top off the bread crumbs with a drizzle of white truffle oil.  You could taste the truffle essence but it was not that strong.  Otherwise - no complaints here...though I think the Dumac recipe found here is the best one so far!


Lavina said...

yummy yum yum. and i like that you incorporated the thumbnails, so I can zoom in on the cheesey goodness and salivate. i definitely liked eating truffle mac and cheese this way :)

Becca said...

This was amazinnnnnnnnggggggg