It was a cold and rainy April weekend in Minnesota. The type of weekend that just begs for ooey-gooey mac and cheese.
But instead of pulling out that blue box we all know and love, I decided to step things up. So without the fresh breezes and warm sunshine to distract me, and the theory that homemade, really truly homemade, is more satisfying and delicious than anything out of a box, I attempted my first mac and cheese.
And it was indeed satisfying.
I had recently bought a bottle white truffle oil at this adorable oil/vinegar shop in Stillwater. Unable to resist the culinary glamour of truffles, I scampered out of the store, thrilled that soon I would be able to make all sorts of amazing creations like……………
Then it hit me. I had no idea what to do with the stuff. After a disastrous attempt at a sweet potato dish (don’t ever roast sweet potatoes with white truffle oil!), I discovered it was too potent to use as a base oil in anything, so a finishing oil was my only option.
Luckily for me, I stumbled across a recipe in Cooking Light that, with some modifications, suited my tastes perfectly! Lesson learned – don’t fear unusual ingredients and don’t mix them with sweet potatoes.
- 2 1/4 cups skim or 2% milk, divided
- 2 cups sliced onions (about 1 medium onion)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 box your favorite pasta shape (shorter, sturdy noodles work best)
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
- 1 1/2 tsp. white truffle oil
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp. shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 garlic gloves, minced
- 1 lb shrimp, cooked
1. Heat 1 3/4 cups milk, onion and the bay leaf in a large sauce pan until just simmering. Cover, remove from heat, and let it stand for 15 minutes. Note: make sure you use a very large pan, you’ll be combining everything in it at the end.
2. While that’s sitting, cook your pasta according to the instructions on the package.
3. Strain the milk mixture and discard the solids. Return the pan of milk to medium heat. Combine the flour and remaining 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Stir the milk in the small bowl into the milk in the sauce pan.
4. Bring the milk mixture to a boil, stirring frequently and cook for 1 minute – stir it constantly or it will burn. Take it off the heat and let it stand for a few minutes to cool.
5. Add the cheeses and stir until completely melted. Next, add the white truffle oil, cooked pasta and shrimp.
6. Pour the mixture into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish and preheat the broiler.
7. Place the panko, parmesan cheese and garlic in a food processor and pulse until you get fine crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the pasta and broil until golden brown.