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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mac-n-Cheese: Upscale twist to a classic favorite...

A weekend over at my friend Lindsay's house is always a treat. She is an excellent cook with a sensational ability to find delicious recipes that have an upscale twist. There isn't much that this cool chick can't cook (actually...I can't think of anything).  She amazes me in life and in the kitchen, and she did once again when I spent the weekend with her recently while her husband was out of town.

While I played with her adorable son (almost eight months), she whipped us up Truffle Mac-n-Cheese. The star ingredient she used was oil infused with truffles. The only truffle I ever really knew before this was the chocolate ones from Godiva. Hard chocolate outside...soft, creamy inside filled with hazelnuts, peanut butter or better yet...more chocolate.

Actually, the type of truffle I'm referring to today is a type of mushroom. They are wild and rare and have a earthy and pungent taste. Doesn't sound so great does it? Actually, mixed with cheese and pasta and these little shrooms are actually quite tasty.  Truffles can be incredibly expensive because of their scarcity, but using truffle oil cuts down on cost and still keeps a great taste.

It's delicious and very easy to make. This dish is powerful enough to be the main course or as a ritzy side dish. It's heaven on a plate and goes perfectly with a chick flick and the gas logs burning (that's what we did)!

I asked her for the recipe and she has happily shared it with me so I can pass it on to you. Enjoy!

Truffle Mac-n-Cheese

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped garlic
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups cooked cavatappi pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (equal parts rosemary, thyme and basil)
1/4 cup infused white truffle oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup Japanese bread crumbs (panko)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the broiler.
Add butter to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and garlic until they turn slightly brown. Add the flour and whisk together for 3 minutes to make a blonde roux. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent the roux from burning. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the roux has dissolved completely and you can no longer taste the flour. Add the pasta and stir until hot. Add the fresh herbs, the truffle oil, and half of the Parmesan and stir until dissolved. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Put all ingredients into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese and bread crumbs on top evenly. Place under a broiler until top becomes golden brown.

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