Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Truffle Mac and Cheese

Oli, here's a recipe for truffle mac and cheese - your fave!  Yes, you do love ANYTHING that has truffle in it, so enjoy.  And yes, I'll buy you a bottle of truffle oil for your birthday so you can pour it on everything you eat - just don't get too crazy with that stuff!  I've reposted my recipe for bechamel below so I wouldn't have to retype everything :)

1. Ingredients: Bechamel sauce (flour, butter, milk, salt), noodles (I used medium shells but you can use any type), cheese (I like to use a few different types - for this recipe I used smoked cheddar, white cheddar, and pecorino romano), truffle oil. 

2. For the bechamel sauce: 3 tablespoons of butter, 3 tablespoons of flour, 3 cups of HOT milk, pinch of salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a pot - when it's melted put in the flour and whisk for a couple minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.

3. After the butter/flour mixture (called a roux, which is a thickening agent) has cooked a couple minutes, slowly pour in the hot milk and whisk until everything is incorporated.  Remember to use hot milk because if you pour cold milk in, your sauce will come out grainy.  Whisk constantly on low-medium heat so you don't scald the bottom of the pan until the sauce thickens up, enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Add salt and pepper to your taste.

4.When the sauce has thickened, you can start adding in the cheeses.  If you're using truffle oil, don't use cheeses that are too strong in flavor like smoked gouda or gruyere.  For this recipe, I shredded about 8 ounces of smoked cheddar, 8 ounces of white cheddar, and 2 ounces of pecorino romano (I know, a lot of types, but I had it sitting in the fridge).

5. Add the cheese into the sauce in small handfuls while stirring constantly.  Keep a few ounces of cheese to sprinkle over the top for baking.  So usually, after I incorporate all the cheese, I like to blend it with my handy dandy hand blender to make the sauce extra smooth.  Also, if you want the cheese to taste cheesier, add more cheese!  It's totally up to you.

6. Cook the noodles al dente - make sure you don't overcook the noodles because you are going to bake it for 20 minutes!  So drain the noodles when the noodles still have a real bite to them.  When the noodles are done, mix in the drained pot with the sauce, 2 tablespoons of the truffle oil, and pour into a baking dish.

7.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

8.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

9. Before you serve, let it rest for a few minutes.  Serve with a salad, as a side, or eat it all by itself. Trufflicious!