Recipe 61: White Truffle Macaroni and Cheese

I’ve been wanting to try this mac for a while. I found some white truffle oil at an inexpensive price, and I bought it without any clear plan for it; finding this recipe, therefore, was a godsend.

White Truffle Macaroni and Cheese (from The Curvy Carrot)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup panko – I used a combination of panko, breadcrumbs, and crushed rice/corn cereal.  Sometimes you gotta make-do.
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated – I used Pecorino
  • 1-2 tablespoons white truffle oil (to taste) – I used 2 Tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter – I use salted, I don’t think it makes a difference
  • 2 tablespoons flour – or gluten-free equivalent
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 8 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces Fontina cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni (or your personal favorite type of pasta) – I used corn elbows
  • Green onions, chopped, for garnish (optional) – I omitted

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees (this is considered broiling).  Generously spray a 2.5-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the panko, Parmesan and 1 tablespoon white truffle oil (if using less white truffle oil overall, use about 1/2 tablespoon here), mixing until combined.

3. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. (If you are short on time, it might be helpful at this point to get your water boiling for the macaroni.)

4. Add the flour and whisk continuously until the mixture forms a thick paste, about a minute or so.

5. Slowly whisk in the half and half until smooth (some lumps may remain-that’s ok).

6. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.

7. Using a wooden spoon, slowly add the cheeses and stir until completely melted.

8. Add the remaining truffle oil and salt and pepper, to taste.

9. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni as directed on the package.  Once cooked, drain the pasta and add it to the cheese sauce.

10.  Evenly distribute the macaroni into the prepared casserole dish and top with the panko mixture.

11.  Broil until the panko topping is lightly golden, about 3-4 minutes.  (Watch it carefully so that it doesn’t burn!)  Top with green onions (if using) and serve immediately.

My computer isn’t cooperating in regards to the image I have.  It’s a pale white mac, very loose in body.  It’s in a heather colored Fiesta bowl, if you’re interested in that.

VERDICT: 3/5.  I think this is on my personal taste. I’m not sure if it’s the white truffle oil or the fontina cheese, but this left a weird aftertaste in my mouth. Still, it’s not bad necessarily. Broiling it does nothing for the body, which was very soupy, so personally if I made this again, I wouldn’t bother with the crumb topping and would just serve it straight from the pot – so I would stop at Point Nine in the steps above . Normally I like to leave vegetarian recipes as-is, but I think this could benefit from chicken, or maybe even mushrooms.  Even without, it does have a certain earthiness that only could have come from that truffle oil.  Not a perfect recipe, but one worth trying out and impressing your friends with.  And hey, if you make any improvements to it, drop me a line!  I’d love to hear what you did.

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