As part of Foodbuzz's Tastemaker program, I recently received a large package of goodies from Hickory Farms. The smoked cheddar went quickly because I'm strangely addicted to smoked foods (cheese, salmon, etc). I wasn't a huge fan of the sweet turkey sausage, but the beef sausage was quite good with cheese and crackers. Great for a party. The spicy cheddar packed a punch and I knew it had to be put to good use. I'm sort of obsessed with the truffle cheese at Trader Joe's and have been wanting to make an interesting mac and cheese with it for a while. The combined cheeses were great and this mac and cheese is kind of addicting. Bacon would certainly make this infinitely better, but I wanted to keep it less heart attack inducing so I used nonfat milk and spray oil to grease the ramekins. The butter in the sauce and the cheese kept this rich enough for me and a decadent weekday dinner (and breakfast...shhh...don't tell anyone).
Merry Christmas to those that celebrate!
Spicy Truffle Mac and Cheese
Makes 4 servings
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 ounces grated truffle cheese
3 ounces grated spicy cheddar cheese
3/4 teaspoon truffle salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8x8 pan or 4 ramekins with butter or spray oil. If using ramekins, place them on top of a foil-lined baking tray and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a healthy pinch of salt and then the pasta. Cook for about 6 minutes or until al dente. Drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the milk over low heat. Make sure the milk doesn't come to a boil. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk the heated milk into the flour and butter and cook for another 5 minutes until thickened and smooth.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the cheeses and salt. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Add the pasta to the cheese mixture and stir to combine. Pour the macaroni and cheese into the ramekins. Top each ramekin with a tablespoon of panko and a light sprinkling of truffle salt. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the panko has browned and the cheese is bubbling. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.