Truffled Macaroni & Cauliflower Gratin
This is what I made for Super Bowl Sunday yesterday. No wings or nachos here.
This is really just a version of macaroni & cheese but I added cauliflower and broccoli (I've done it before) and truffles.
I only make one lasagne and one version of mac and cheese a year.
My friend Stephane gave me the idea, however he uses about $40. worth of cheese and about $200. worth of truffles! (fancy pants).
I used his title and his panko breadcrumb topping, but changed around the cheeses and quantities.
(Who invented those wonderful Panko breadcrumbs anyway? The Japanese?).
Mac 'n Cheese is not a science, it's just some pasta mixed with a cheesy sauce of your liking.
Some like dry mustard and nutmeg in the sauce (me!), others like blue cheese (no thanks).
There are some with a breadcrumb topping, and others sans crust.
Cheddar? Gruyere? Fontina? It's all good (except no Gorgonzola, too rich).
Do your own thing, you can't go wrong, but please don't use a can of cheddar cheese soup or Kraft slices, though I know some of you will anyway.
A drizzle of truffle oil over the top is really gilding the lily.
Truffled Mac 'n Cheese w/ Cauliflower (serves 6)
8 oz. (half a box) of elbow macaroni
half a head of cauliflower, cut into small florets (I also added broccoli)
2 cups of good Gruyere cheese, grated
1 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
3 tbsp butter
2 cups of milk (I used 2%)
1/4 cup of flour
salt & pepper
drizzle of good quality truffle oil
1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese
Make the breadcrumbs. In a skillet, heat the panko with the butter and add the cheese.
Stir for a few minutes until browned. Set aside.
Cook the elbows as per package directions in salted boiling water.
During the last minute of cooking, throw in the cauliflower and blanch for 1 minute.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the 3 tbsp of butter with the milk and flour. Whisk until bubbling and add in cheese. Keep whisking until you have no lumps and you have a nice, thick cheese sauce.
Pour the drained pasta and cauliflower into the saucepan w/ the sauce and mix together.
Spoon into a well buttered 8" x 10" casserole dish and spread evenly.
Pour the breadcrumbs on top and bake for 30 minutes at 350F.
When out of the oven, drizzle a very small amount of truffle oil (a little goes a long way!) over the top of the gratin.
Let rest 10 minutes and serve.
Waaay better than nachos or the lame taco salad I made yesterday!
La Tourangelle from California (the oil that is in the photo) is a reliable and reasonable brand of truffle oil, as well as other flavored oils. The Italian stuff can be very pricey. This is relatively inexpensive and good quality found at most better supermarkets.