White Truffle Mac and Cheese

22 Feb

I loooooove Mac & Cheese… and now that I am grown-up, I look for ways to make mac & cheese but with twists and turns that will still satisfy the cravings, yet also attend a more upscale audience.

I have seen on various Top Chef and Barefoot Contessa episodes how a little bit of truffle butter can give you the essence of truffles without the steep price.  Hey… still, a little container of truffle butter is not cheap at $7 each, but it’s not as expensive as shelling out $$$ for the real fresh truffle.  Which, to be honest, I do not know if they’re available here in Puerto Rico.

I have been intrigued by the flavor of truffles ever since I had a delicious mushroom risotto with a drizzle of truffle oil at Pikayo’s Restaurant here in San Juan and more recently in a trip to NYC where we had a delicious vegetable cassoulet with truffle butter running thru it.  Truffles have a flavor very difficult to explain for me… I guess that’s why I prefer, if you can and dare, to experience it.  That’s why they’ve invented a name for this flavor – umami. 

So I have adored this little tub of truffle butter in the fridge since before Xmas time… and a few weeks back I said ENOUGH!!  I am making something with this butter!  And to celebrate the love I feel for my friends, I invited them over to a small Valentine’s dinner party.    

 

WHITE TRUFFLE MAC AND CHEESE

About 4 cups of mushrooms, sliced – I used a combination of white button and cremini mushrooms
3 tbs of butter
About 3 tbs of extra-virgin Olive oil
1 pound of elbow or penne pasta, whole grain preferably
1 small container of truffle butter
A little bit less than ¼ cup of whole wheat flour
1 quart of milk
About 1 cup of gruyere cheese, grated
About 1 cup of Italian Blend of cheeses, shredded
About ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
Sea Salt and Freshly cracked Black Pepper

 

  1. First we cook the mushrooms… in a large skillet heat the regular butter and a bit olive oil to prevent the butter to burn too quickly and sauté the mushrooms.  I had to do this in batches because my skillet is not that large.  When you place them on the skillet, move them around to make sure the butter/oil coats them, but after that leave them alone.  Do not touch them for a while and allow them to cook and get browned on both sides before seasoning them with salt and pepper.  Set them aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt generously and cook the pasta until al dente for about 6-7 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, we create the cheese sauce for the mac & cheese… in a medium sauce pan add the truffle butter… the smell will intoxicate you, in a good way!!!  When the butter melts, add the flour in small increments.  I scooped out ¼ cup, but I did not use it all.  Whisk the flour into the butter to create a smooth paste and allow it to cook for a few minutes to make sure the flour doesn’t taste like flour in the sauce.
  4. After about 3-4 minutes, add the milk to the flour/butter paste, called a roux by the cooking gods.  Whisk away to make sure you have no lumps and to thicken the milk and crate a creamy béchamel sauce.  Bring to a boil for the sauce to reach it’s creamy consistency.
  5. Remove sauce from heat and add the grated cheeses slowly, whisking as you add to make sure they melt perfectly.
  6. When the cheese sauce is ready, drain the pasta well, return to the same pot and add the cheese sauce.  Add the reserved cooked mushrooms and mix well.  Transfer to a greased 9” x 13” baking dish and top with some extra grated Parmesan and Gruyere cheese.
  7. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes at 350F until the cheese on top gets browned and crusty.
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One Response to “White Truffle Mac and Cheese”

  1. Tammy McLeod February 26, 2010 at 12:15 am #

    Serious yum!

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