I have never claimed to be a gourmet chef, or expert on food. But one thing I do claim? Greg and I have the best truffle mac and cheese recipe. I don’t mean to brag (okay, maybe I do), but nothing I’ve tried out there comes close. Since we made it this past week for Thanksgiving I found it only appropriate to share it in hopes y’all can try it for Christmas!
Greg and I went to Smith and Wollensky for Houston Restaurant Week about four years back and ordered some truffle mac and cheese. We obsessed over how good it was and set out to make our own. So we developed our own recipe. It’s a combination of three different ones we’ve found around the internet, taking the best. I think what sets ours apart from other recipes is using cavatappi noodles, the panko bread crumbs, and the hand-grated aged white cheddar. Obviously the truffle oil takes this over the top. I’ve actually blogged this recipe before, but that was three years ago. And one thing I learned at Blog Elevated was to repost good content that may have not gotten the attention it deserves. And by golly, this recipe deserves attention!
Aww! It’s newlywed Meg & Greg with one of our first trial runs of this recipe! Aren’t we precious? To this day, we haven’t changed a thing with this recipe because it’s that good. We have requests for it for every major holiday. We just made it this past Thanksgiving, like we always do, but it truly is perfect for Christmas and Easter dinners. It doesn’t disappoint.
And you know it’s about to get good when you start out with butter, onions, rosemary, thyme, basil, half and half, heavy whipping cream, cheddar, truffle oil and wine. Just sayin’. Now let’s just get to the good stuff – the recipe. Just as an FYI, we have made this recipe with both black and white truffle oil and it comes out tasting the same. Only difference is you need to use more white truffle oil to get it to the desired flavor.
1 lb cavatappi pasta
1 and ¼ sticks of butter
¾ cup chopped red onion
2 Tbsp minced garlic
½ cup flour
16 oz. block white aged cheddar, shredded
½ cup parmesean cheese, shredded
1 cup skim milk
½ cup half & half
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup chopped fresh basil, thyme and rosemary
cracked black pepper (to taste)
If you have black truffle oil: 1 Tbsp and 1 tsp black truffle oil (this is to your preference – start with 1 Tbsp and if that’s enough for you, stop there. Black truffle oil is more expensive and also more intense.)
If you have white truffle oil: 3 Tbsp
Splash white wine (about ¼ cup)
½ cup (or more) Japanese panko bread crumbs
Boil cavatappi per package instructions, set aside. Add butter to pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and garlic until they turn slightly brown. Add the flour and whisk together for 3 minutes to make a blonde roux. Whisk in the milk, half and half, heavy whipping cream, and a splash of white wine and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent the roux from burning. You may have to keep adding in additional skim milk if you think it’s looking a little too “flour-y”. Just eyeball it. Cook until the roux has dissolved completely and you can no longer taste the flour. Add the fresh herbs, the truffle oil, the cheddar, and half of the parmesean until dissolved. Season with cracked black pepper (to taste). Incorporate the cooked cavatappi. Put ingredients into a baking dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs and remaining parmesean cheese on top evenly. Place under a broiler until top becomes golden brown.
I hope y’all give it a try for your next family get-together! Or just because. Let’s face it, you don’t need a reason to make truffle mac and cheese.