I was searching for something…earthy. Something luscious that a haunting flavor that stayed with the devourer long after the meal was done.
I found…white truffles.
White truffle oil, to be exact. Added to mac and cheese, it adds a luminous layer of lusciousness that is positively transcendent. Only one problem: this craving hit in the dark, dreary doldrums of a wintry rainy afternoon in Seattle. Which means that the lighting for my photos suffered. The end result, however, was still spectacular. While I was initially going to scrap these photos and start fresh, I realized if I did that I would be robbing you, my lovely reader, of the chance to try the sheer delicious perfection that is truffled mac and cheese.
My inspiration comes from Cristina Ferrare’s version of mac and cheese, which gives the reader the option of adding truffle oil…or not. I give you no such option.
First, gather your ingredients. In my case, I had everything I needed on hand except the truffle oil. If you can’t find it at your local store, you can always order it from Amazon. Next, measure and shred (if needed) your cheeses.
Cook your pasta (I used orecchiette, but feel free to use elbows, farfalle, or the like) according to the package directions, then drain and set aside. Using the large pot you cooked the pasta in, melt the butter. When it begins to bubble, add the flour and whisk briskly to form a roux. Let that cook for about a minute then slowly add the warmed milk, whisking constantly.
Continue to cook and whisk over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the salt and pepper are incorporated, add the cheddar and goat cheeses and stir until the cheeses are completely melted. The piece de resistance: add the white truffle oil. Stir, and enjoy the contact high while the lovely vapors waft up to your nose. Add the cooked pasta and stir until thoroughly combined.
Preheat the broiler. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray, then spoon in the macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top of the dish.
Looks yummy, right? And that’s BEFORE we put it under the broiler to get nice and toasty! Broil the mac and cheese until the top is golden brown, about five minutes but MAKE SURE YOU WATCH IT as it can go from toasty to burnt shockingly fast (yes, that is the voice of experience speaking there).
Looking downright delectable! Make sure you let it sit for about five minutes out of the oven, to allow the cheese to set just a tad and to take off the initial searing blast of broiled heat that your tongue will get it you try to eat this too soon out of the oven.
Pure, earthy, luscious, mac & cheesiness that plumbed new depths of taste – amazing. Seriously good, to the point that I wanted to hide the leftovers and eat them all myself. Not that I did (I’d never do that…). Four elbows up! The truffle oil addition took this good mac and cheese all the way to stupendous.
Here’s my recipe.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 3½ cups warmed, fat-free milk
- 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre, not feta)
- 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
- 8 ounces orecchiette pasta
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a large pot with water and cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, shred/prepare the three cheeses. Preheat the broiler and Pam a casserole dish.
- Using the same large pot, melt butter and then add the flour. Whisk into a roux and cook for about a minute. Slowly add the warmed milk, whisking constantly. Continue to cook over medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add cheddar and goat cheeses and stir until melted. Add truffle oil and stir, taking a moment just to breathe in the heady scent.
- Add the cooked pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Spoon the mac and cheese into the casserole dish and top with Parmesan cheese. Broil for about five minutes (keep an eye on it!) and remove from oven.
- Let sit for five minutes prior to serving.
- Serve and scarf down immediately!
- Cook's note: This recipe gives you a generous amount of sauce. If you want a less-saucy mac and cheese, increase the pasta up to 16 ounces.
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