White Truffle Macaroni and Cheese

I’ve been waiting to post this one for a while now.  I didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag yet.

I don’t share all that much about my personal life on this blog.  It’s about the food for me.  But, I feel strongly about this one, so I figured I would share it with all of you, my friends through the internet.

Some of you may know that I had been traveling cross country the past few months, interviewing at several different places for my final, real, grown-up job.  Hectic?  Just a smidge.  After going through all this training (ahem, student loans galore….), I wanted to make the right decision when it came to finally settling down somewhere for a while.  Get my roots, you know?  And after some pretty extensive turmoil over the past four years or so of my life, I was ready to finally go ahead and get my big girl pants on….find a job…negotiate a contract…uproot myself (again) on my own (with a package deal of one fat orange cat, one petite and prissy black cat, and one lovable, sweet sweet boxer..) and start the next phase of my life.

And, so I did.  I’m moving to Milwaukee, friends!  So, starting in July, expect a lot more recipes that call for beer and/or cheese.  I’m going to a great practice with great people, and I will get to do my dream job…everyday.  It’s rare that opportunities like this come up for people in my field, so I am running with one.

To celebrate, I wanted to share a recipe with cheese.  Lots of it.  Something comforting.  Something rewarding.  I indulged at the market with the truffle oil.  I had passed by the white truffle oils several times, giving them a sideways glance and wondering what all the fuss was about.  And, as in fuss, I mean a small bottle costing nearly $20.  My grocery bills are exorbitant enough for one person (I mean, sometimes it’s seriously embarrassing with the amount of food I bring home..for one person.) so I never went for it.  But, with the contract officially signed and sent off now, I figured I should celebrate.  So I bought the big bottle.  Big girl (fancy) pants, right?

A few things about this recipe: I think I may have used a little too much truffle oil, so I am tweaking the recipe here for you.  The flavor is great..it’s a little hard to describe: earthy, savory, a little salty…but definitely fancy.  I also used Dijon mustard in the original recipe, but I would also omit this as well the next time I make this (so I omitted it for you here). The cheese combination melted beautifully.  I used the panko because I prefer that over bread crumbs any day, but feel free to use whatever topping you like.  I decided to broil the mac and cheese instead of baking it because I prefer the texture of a creamy stove-top-like one over a baked version.

And so what did I do?  I poured myself a nice glass of wine, made a side salad, ate something totally unhealthy for dessert, and enjoyed this fancy-pants mac and cheese to celebrate my new transition into being a grown-up.

White Truffle Macaroni and Cheese

Servings: approximately 8

 

Ingredients

1 cup panko

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1-2 tablespoons white truffle oil (to taste)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups half and half

8 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated

8 ounces Fontina cheese, grated

Salt and pepper, to taste

8 ounces elbow macaroni (or your personal favorite type of pasta)

Green onions, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees (this is considered broiling).  Generously spray a 2.5-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the panko, Parmesan and 1 tablespoon white truffle oil (if using less white truffle oil overall, use about 1/2 tablespoon here), mixing until combined.

3. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. (If you are short on time, it might be helpful at this point to get your water boiling for the macaroni.)

4. Add the flour and whisk continuously until the mixture forms a thick paste, about a minute or so.

5. Slowly whisk in the half and half until smooth (some lumps may remain-that’s ok).

6. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.

7. Using a wooden spoon, slowly add the cheeses and stir until completely melted.

8. Add the remaining truffle oil and salt and pepper, to taste.

9. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni as directed on the package.  Once cooked, drain the pasta and add it to the cheese sauce.

10.  Evenly distribute the macaroni into the prepared casserole dish and top with the panko mixture.

11.  Broil until the panko topping is lightly golden, about 3-4 minutes.  (Watch it carefully so that it doesn’t burn!)  Top with green onions (if using) and serve immediately.

 

Source:  Adapted from Leites Culinaria.

 

January 26, 2012 - 8:47 am

Lori - Shannon,
Congratulations! While you might now be too close to Indianapolis, you are still in the midwest. I used to talk with a lot of people in Milwaulkee. I am sure you will feel at home in no time.

I know you are a doctor…but what is it again that your specialty is in? I love to hear the success stories because my son is off to college this fall as a Bio major. Thanks for posting this recipe. I’ll be sure to give it a try.

January 26, 2012 - 8:58 am

Liz @ Blog is the New Black - Shanon, congrats! You are so deserving of your new position. That is terrific! And to boot, this meal looks totally worthy of a celebration!

January 26, 2012 - 9:05 am

srlacy - Thanks, Liz! :)

January 26, 2012 - 9:06 am

srlacy - Hi Lori-
Thanks for the kind words. I’m finishing up a fellowship in dermatopathology. So, basically, I look at skin biopsies under the microscope. I look at everything from crazy rashes to melanomas. I love it. Good luck to your son!

January 26, 2012 - 9:28 am

Liz Parker - That mac-n-cheese looks divine. Thank you for posting about the broiler, how simple is that?! My son loves the creamy of the stove top (or now my pessure cooker version) and my husband likes the baked kind. Yes meeting right in the middle!

Congrats on the job and thanks for letting us share in our happiness. I wish you much success!

January 26, 2012 - 10:34 am

Robyn - beer? good! cheese? good! congratulations on your job! i’m sure it will feel great to settle down. and when you’re looking for a place you can pick one with a big kitchen with lots of natural light!

January 26, 2012 - 11:52 am

srlacy - Haha! Robyn, you are absolutely 100% right on. Here are the requirements for my new apartment: they can allow my dog…and I have a big kitchen!!! No more stacking everything on my kitchen table!!

January 26, 2012 - 1:38 pm

Jessica - Congratulations on the new job! Beer and cheese…sounds good to me. This recipe looks amazing – one of the best things I’ve ever tasted in my life was a truffled mac & cheese from a fancy restaurant in DC, it was indescribably good. And fancy pants. So I may just try to recreate that decadent cheesy deliciousness by trying your recipe. Do you have plans for the rest of that truffle oil? I’m excited to see what else you make with it.

January 26, 2012 - 1:42 pm

Rachel - Congratulations! Small world, my father is a pathologist about an hour north of you! I grew up in Wisconsin and can truly say it’s one of my favorite places & I’m proud to call home. Milwaukee is a great city, enjoy yourself :)

January 26, 2012 - 1:59 pm

srlacy - Hi Jessica-no plans as of yet, but I’m working on it….. :)

January 26, 2012 - 2:17 pm

natalie (the sweets life) - congrats! i spent the first 12 or so years of my life in the Milwaukee area and we still have family there…it’s definitely becoming more of a ‘foodie’ town so I think you’ll enjoy it (whatever you do, get Kopp’s custard as soon as possible!!! :) )

January 26, 2012 - 2:27 pm

Brenda Stary - Congrats!! this recipe is perfect, I was just thinking 5 days ago, I should look up a mac and cheese recipe and there it is!!!! thank you!! My daughter lives in Milw and loves it. When she comes home, she can’t wait to get back!! Milwaukee has ALOT to offer. Do your research and enjoy the city! I also have 2 sisters in chicago which is only a $20 train ride away from milw! Both cities are great!! congrats again!

January 26, 2012 - 3:05 pm

Kelsey - Congratulations, Shanon! I’m so happy you’ve found a place that feels right AND that you’ve got that bottle of truffle oil. I bet you’ll make some mean fondue when you get to Milwaukee and get your hands on all that delicious cheese!

January 26, 2012 - 4:32 pm

srlacy - Heck yeah! Ooooh, fondue….now I am hungry!

January 26, 2012 - 5:35 pm

Ann P. - CONGRATULATIONS! this is so big! One day I hope to be in a position like yours (on my way–I’m taking the MCAT this Saturday!), so I definitely can imagine how happy you are. :) This is the perfect celebration food, too! LOVE truffle mac & cheese!

January 26, 2012 - 6:14 pm

Nicole O - Welcome to Wisconsin!! Grew up here, left, and then came back.. so I guess that’s a good sign :)

January 26, 2012 - 8:39 pm

Culinary Cache - Yum! I love truffled mac n cheese such the perfect flavor combination! Great recipe!

January 27, 2012 - 9:45 am

Maureen - Congratulations on the new job! How exciting to finally get your life going. Well done!

Your mac and cheese with truffle oil sounds so good. I’m going to have to get some mac and cheese on a plate soon.

January 27, 2012 - 12:42 pm

Heather - Many congrats on your new job!!! I’m sure you will do very well there! All the best to you! (PS – lookin forward to beer/cheese recipes. Cause who in the WORLD doesn’t love beer and cheese?)

January 27, 2012 - 12:54 pm

Kim in MD - I stumbled upon your blog today through TasteSpotting. This mac & cheese recipe looks TO DIE FOR! Congrats on your new job, too! Here’s a tip to get the most out of your new bottle of truffle oil- keep it in the fridge. It will turn rancid pretty fast if you don’t, and if you keep it in the fridge it will last for years! :-) I am off to explore your blog. Thanks for the great recipe!

January 27, 2012 - 2:22 pm

srlacy - Thanks, Kim!! Will do!

January 27, 2012 - 7:14 pm

Sarah G. - I just want to say Welcome to Milwaukee!! If you ever need suggestions for restaurants, or anything really, let me know!

January 27, 2012 - 7:24 pm

Krissy @ Krissy's Creations - Congratulations!! So excited for you and this wonderful change :) . This Mac&Cheese looks incredible! I love truffle, I love mac and cheese, I love this!

January 28, 2012 - 1:15 am

Jo - This looks absolutely delicious. Would love for you to share your gorgeous pictures with us at foodepix.com.

January 28, 2012 - 3:13 pm

Rachel @ Bakerita - Congrast! And ahh, drooling! This mac n cheese looks to die for. I’m all for anything and everything truffle and mac and cheese is probably my favorite food. I want this…now!

January 29, 2012 - 10:42 am

Gina - I have followed your blog for some time now. I love your recipes and look to it for inspiration. I live and grew up in the Milwaukee area! It is a wonderful city with down to earth people! Congrats on your job and welcome!

February 2, 2012 - 11:30 am

gail - Congrats! My husband and I live in Chicago but LOVE Milwaukee! Such great restaurant, art and general fun! We make the trip several times a year. You will LOVE it!

February 2, 2012 - 5:22 pm

DishingGourmet - This is my first time on your blog, and I will certainly be back. This recipe looks fantastic! I am planning to make it for my fiance this weekend as part of his special birthday dinner. Best wishes to you!

February 2, 2012 - 11:39 pm

Elizabeth - Hello, this is my firt time visiting via Pinterest.

I am from Milwaukee and, oddly enough I am visiting Milwaukee right now. I have not read enough of your blog to know much about you but I can tell you this. Milwaukee is a fabulous place, the people are kind, the city is beautiful and there is a lot to do here. I think you will be very happy here. I am sure that you have received a lot of advice about the city but if you would like to know more please do not hesitate ot contact me. I would be more than happy to tell you some great stores to “feed your food” habit, or differst things to see and do as well as great areas to live in.

August 25, 2012 - 7:10 pm

Sharron - Thank you very much for the recipe.

I used two 5oz packages of Walmart’s parmesan cheese blend which contains Fontina and Asiago cheeses as well as the parm. I used a 13.5oz box piccolini shells. Added enough milk to the half and half to remain mixable.

October 13, 2012 - 10:09 pm

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April 2, 2013 - 8:50 pm

Tiffany - I made this tonight. It was good but 8 oz of pasta definitely was not enough for us. Almost a whole 16 oz package might have been enough. I used about 10 oz. I will be making this again, though! Just with more pasta next time. :D

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