My parents and I were having a coffee/snack at La Boulange in Hayes Valley recently and my mother ordered their wild mushroom mac & cheese with truffle oil. (My father had a baguette with Nutella, and being me, I had a slice of a chocolate ganache torte with a cup of tea. Healthy, I know.) Anyway, I absolutely love truffle oil and how just a tablespoon can evoke such deep, rich flavors. The mac & cheese was delicious – creamy and cheesy and with this really nice deep, earthy mushroom flavor. The mushrooms were these giant slices that tasted as though they had been sautéed in truffle oil. SO DELICIOUS.
So this last week, I decided to try to replicate the mac & cheese at home, since we have a bottle of white truffle oil and a bottle of black truffle oil sitting on the counter that are clearly needing to be added to every meal. :]
I know that Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) has a version of truffle mac & cheese so I went off of her recipe but with a few minor adjustments.
Truffled Mac & Cheese
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces crimini mushrooms (or portabellos), sliced
8 slices of bacon, diced
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1 pound pasta, like spirali or cavatappi
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (I used reduced fat because that’s what we keep on hand)
1/2 cup half and half (optional, you can just use all milk if you want)
3 cups extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
1 1/2 – 2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, sliced (it’s a bit too soft to grate)
1/2 – 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons white truffle oil (this makes for a very intense truffle flavor, you may want to start with 1 tablespoon, taste, and then add more as you desire)
1 tablespoon black truffle oil
In a saute pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and mushrooms, and saute until they are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the Marsala wine and continue to saute for a few more minutes, until the wine is mostly absorbed. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook for the recommended amount of time, or until al dente. Drain well.
Meanwhile, in a medium size pot, melt the next 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Once combined, add the milk and half and half. Stir constantly until the white sauce has thickened and looks creamy. Season with salt and black pepper. Over low heat, add the Cheddar, Jarlsberg, and Parmesan. Stirring until throughly melted and combined. Off the heat, add the mushrooms and bacon, stir to incorporate. Then add the truffle oil. If you would like a less intense truffle flavor, I would start by adding one tablespoon, stir, taste, and decide if you would like to add more. I love the truffle oil so I add all 4 tablespoons at once and stir thoroughly.
Pour the pasta into a large baking dish (or your choice of serving dish – I suggest a baking dish if you plan to keep it warm in the oven), and pour over the cheese/mushroom/bacon mixture. Stir until all of the noodles are coated with the cheese mixture.
Super indulgent and rich, but oh so delicious. Fancy comfort food :] And way easy to make – definitely an awesome weekend dinner with a good glass of wine.