Truffle Mac

Do you ever wind up with a little bit of various types of cheeses in your refrigerator? I noticed yesterday that I had a little bit of parmesan, goat cheese, cheddar, romano, and havarti. Knowing that a couple of them were nearing the end of their shelf life, I thought some macaroni and cheese was in order.

I estimated that I had about 16 ounces of cheese total:

  • 5 oz. light havarti (in slices, which was not ideal but I made it work)
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar
  • 3 oz. herbed goat cheese
  • 3 oz. parmesan
  • 1 oz. romano, grated

This was a bit of an experiment since I had never combined so many cheeses before, but I thought – I’ve never met a combination of cheeses that I didn’t like, so why not?

To compensate for the fact that I was using skim milk (that’s what I had) and some light cheese, I decided to add some truffle oil for a little extra richness. The truffle oil is completely optional, but just a small amount really goes a long way in adding some serious depth of flavor.

Truffle Mac
16 oz. cavatappi pasta
3 slices of bread (crust removed), or one cup of breadcrumbs
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. flour
2 c. milk (I used skim, but something closer to whole would be even better)
16 oz. of your favorite cheese, grated
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1-2 tsp. white truffle oil (depending on how strong you want the flavor to be)

Make the breadcrumb topping by putting the bread slices in a food processer. Add 3 tbsp. of melted butter and some freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

Create a roux by melting the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter in a dutch oven over medium-low to medium heat and adding the flour. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking it into the flour and butter mixture to make sure you get rid of any lumps. The sauce will thicken as it gets hot.

Add the white pepper, nutmeg, and dry mustard. I did not salt the sauce because of the amount of salty parmesan I used, but you may need a small amount of salt depending on the type of cheese you’re using.

When the sauce has thickened, reduce the heat to low and slowly add the cheese. Stir until all the cheese has melted into the sauce. At this point, stir in the truffle oil if you’re using it.

Cook the pasta until it’s just shy of al-dente, drain well, and add to the dutch oven with the cheese sauce. Raise the heat to medium-low and let the pasta finish cooking in the sauce for about five minutes.

Sprinkle the breadcrumb topping over the pasta and transfer to a broiler that has been preheated to high. I used an oven-proof dutch oven so I didn’t have to dirty another dish, but you could also transfer it to a separate casserole. Broil until the top is golden brown.

The end result may look a little sloppy, but it sure tasted good!

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