TRUFFLED MAC AND CHEESE
Steak with Friends
by Rick Tramonto with Mary Goodbody
Like so many Americans, I fondly recall macaroni and cheese as a favorite childhood dish. I still like it—who doesn't?—and have always made it for the kids. To kick it up a little for the adults in any crowd, I find truffle oil turns the ordinary into the extraordinary, and it's a perfect accompaniment to grilled steak. If you happen to have some fresh truffles lying around, chop them up and add them to the casserole. On the other hand, you could leave out the truffle oil (and truffles) and enjoy a terrific mac and cheese without them.
· 1 cup bread crumbs
· 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
· 3 tablespoons white truffle oil
· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
· 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
· 2 cups half-and-half
· 1/4 pound Swiss cheese, grated
· 1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
· 1/4 pound fontina cheese, grated
· 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 1-quart baking dish or casserole.
In a small mixing bowl, toss the bread crumbs and Parmesan with 1 table spoon of the truffle oil. Set aside.
In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking continuously, for about 3 minutes, or until smooth and blended. Whisk in the half-and-half and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 3 minutes longer.
Stir the Swiss, Cheddar, and fontina cheeses and the mustard into the cream mixture until the cheeses melt. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons truffle oil. Season to taste with salt and pep- per.
Meanwhile, cook the macaroni according to the package instructions or for about 7 minutes, until al dente. Drain the pasta, add to the cheese sauce, and mix well. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the prepared baking dish (You can make the casserole up to this point, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours).
Top the macaroni and cheese evenly with the bread crumb mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping turns golden brown. Serve immediately.