I’m pretty sure everyone loves mac and cheese. Everyone. I’m not nearly as certain that everyone loves truffles, being one of those things that you love or hate or maybe never had before because truffles are the most expensive food in the world and instead of eating truffles you had to pay rent or something boring like that.
I love love love truffles. There’s just something about the scent that I can’t describe; it compels me to eat copious amounts of truffled anything. Personally, I don’t think that truffles smell like sex, or dirt, or sex in the dirt, or whatever creative description people have for them. They just give this amazingly curious aroma that you just have to try for yourself and decide if you’re a truffle person or not. Of course you can also just make this delicious mac and cheese without the truffle oil if you find truffles offensive. *cough peasant cough*
The best scenario would be having freshly shaved truffles, but for people living in the real world, buy truffle infused oil which will do just fine (but make sure it’s the real thing and not artificial truffle flavour). And then all you need to do is whip up some mac and cheese as your truffle vehicle. Truffle oil will elevate all kinds of foods to a whole new level, but if you even think about making mac and cheese from a box, I’m quite certain that you will burn in hell. So make the mac and cheese from scratch with real cheese please. The other important thing is that there needs to be a lot of cheese sauce, because the pasta will soak it all up and you want your mac and cheese to be unctuous and saucy, not congealed and dry. The panko on top is optional, but this is one of the few times where a bit of crustiness is actually a good thing. If you’re not feeling the panko idea, add more grated cheese on top and grill until golden.
People always ask me what they could make as a delicious dinner party dish, and I truly think that this is it, even if this is the only thing you’re going to serve at your dinner party. It’s pasta. It’s cheese. It’s truffles. You can’t lose.
Truffled Mac & Cheese
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated/shredded
2 cups gruyere cheese, grated/shredded
300g small pasta shapes of your choice
600ml pouring cream
2 tablespoons truffle oil
1 bay leaf
1 shallot, sliced
½ cup panko crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
sea salt, to taste (you could also use truffle salt to enhance the flavour)
Heat the milk, cream, bay leaf and shallot in a small saucepan over moderate heat until just boiling. Strain the hot milk into a jug.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Strain the pasta and put into baking dish.
Melt butter in a separate saucepan. Once melted, add the plain flour and stir to combine to make a roux. Cook the roux over moderate heat for a few minutes, keep stirring to stop it from browning. Whilst still over heat, add 1/3 of the hot milk into the roux, keep stirring until it becomes a smooth paste. Add the remaining milk, stir to combine. Add the cheese and stir until smooth. Season to taste as different cheeses will have different levels of saltiness. Add the truffle oil – you may need to add more oil if you’d like the truffle scent to be stronger.
Turn on the grill element of oven. Pour the cheese sauce into the pasta and stir to combine. Pour into baking dish and top with panko crumbs. Place under the grill for 5 minutes or until panko crumbs are golden brown. Remove and serve.