Friday, January 6, 2012

Black Truffle Oil + White Cheddar Mac

Yes, this is rich, but who wants to eat low fat mac n' cheese? Not me! I'd rather just have a reasonable portion of the good stuff, and this is the good stuff. The brie is creamy while the cheddar adds a bit of texture. The black truffle oil, available at most specialty grocery stores,  is the thing that sends this dish into the atmosphere. Plus, if you serve it with steamed broccoli, you can feel good that you ate your veggies. Right?

Black Truffle Oil + White Cheddar Mac
(serves 4-6)

4 quarts water
1/8 cup salt
1/2 pound rigatoni
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups whole milk
6 ounces white cheddar (shredded, divided)
4 ounces brie (rind removed, cubed)

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons course bread crumbs (I used cornbread)
1 tablespoon truffle oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (about 4 sprigs)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bring 4 quarts of water and 1/8 cup salt up to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the rigatoni and cook according to package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a 12-inch pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, flour, nutmeg, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and black pepper, and then whisk it constantly, cooking until nutty and fragrant (about 3 minutes). Slowly add the milk as you whisk to work out any lumps. Turn up the heat to medium-high while continuing to whisk until milk comes to a low boil and begins to thicken slightly (this could take about eight minutes). Reduce heat and slowly add 4 ounces of the cheddar and the brie to the milk mixture. Whisk until all of the cheese has melted into the sauce. Add the lemon zest. Temper the egg yolks by whisking two tablespoons of the cheese sauce into them then add the egg yolks to the mixture.

Using a slotted spoon or spider, remove pasta from the water directly into the pan with the cheese sauce. Gently fold the noodles into the sauce as not to break them. Pour pasta mixture into a seven-inch soufflé dish, top with the remaining cheddar, and bake for 10 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and drizzle the truffle oil over the top of the whole thing. Bake another ten to fifteen minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden. Garnish with thyme leaves. Serve with steamed broccoli to make it a meal.


andrea said...

this looks like the most amazing thing ever! thanks for sharing, i might have to cook this up this weekend. mmmm, I cant wait.

Bianca said...

I keep meaning to splurge for truffle oil at Whole Foods. I need to do that! I could make this vegan...somehow.

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

B, not sure this can be veganized. It's all cheese, but maybe with butternut squash and coconut milk? I dunno.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't call Bianca a B. She's nice!

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

I would never. She is pretty nice...sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I made this on Saturday and it came out very soupy with sauce to the very top of the casserole (not at all like the picture). I cooked another half pound of rigatoni and added to the mixture and it solved the problem. After filling a larger casserole, it did look just like your picture. The flavor was fantastic!

Cowgirl said...

MMMmmmm...I want it and I want it now! thanks for sharing.

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Anon, Thanks for testing it out. I'll address the prob in the future. I'm always wary of "too dry" mac and cheese. It's is soupy when it goes into the oven, but firms up without being dry. I'll have no problem testing this open is tasty.

tender b. said...

I had a version of truffle oil and mac and cheese in New Orleans and it was really good. The memories haven't convinced me to buy the oil yet but I'm getting close.

Crystal @EatDrinkClev said...

I made a very similar dish for Christmas Eve but I actually found "Italian Truffle Cheese" at Trader Joe's and used that in my mix of cheeses. REALLY GOOD! If you can find it, I recommend it highly. I never used brie in mac 'n cheese before - I'll definitely try your recipe!