Outrageous (and cheap!) Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese

This extravagant dish was conceived while watching the UCONN Huskies dominate the Spartans this past Sunday afternoon.  Mike and I were already going to be making fried chicken for dinner (yep…  marathon training certainly brings out the healthiest choices!)- when we decided to continue the party back at Brian and Jenna’s house so that the pups could have a play date and Brian and I could get cooking.

To say that Brian was enthusiastic about making this macaroni is an understatement.  This recipe ended up being a combination of his methods and mine- and it is SINFUL.  There is NOTHING healthy about it, other than you are going to want to eat the entire tray.

DSCN4167 Very simple set of ingredients:  1 pound of shells, 1 quart of milk, 6 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons flour, 1.5 sleeves ritz crackers (not pictured), 2 lbs of cheese (getting to that!), and truffle oil!

The secret weapon here:  CHEESE ENDS!  I had NO IDEA that this was a thing (I admittedly have been drinking the Whole Foods kool-aid, and have forgotten that things like cheese ends exist!).  Brian grabbed a few packs of cheese ends (which were filled with yummy cheddar, American, muenster, swiss, and provolone slabs)- and taught me that one of the best mac ‘n cheeses I have ever eaten in my life does NOT need to be made with expensive Gruyere, aged cheddar, parm, etc-  just grab a few of these <$1 packs of ends!!!

The method is fairly traditional:

1st, the roux- DSCN4176

When the flour is cooked out, add all of the milk, whisking constantly.  Bring to a bubble, and begin adding cubed cheese ends.  Our favorite additions were the American, provolone, swiss, and cheddar.  I thought the American actually added a lot of flavor- which surprised my snobby butt because I had not considered American cheese outside of a grilled-cheese-and-white-bread…  and the creamy, rounded flavor really added to the overall “cheesy” flavor.  DSCN4177 DSCN4178

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions, minus 2 minutes (because we are going to bake the pasta in the cream sauce).  Also, melt the other 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan and add about a sleeve and a half of crushed ritz crackers (Jenna’s favorite part)- and toast until golden brown.DSCN4179 DSCN4183

When the pasta is done, drain and set aside.  Taste your cheese sauce for salt and pepper- it may not need much due to all of the cheese (1.5 POUNDS….  remember??)… and add 1 teaspoon of truffle oil.  You DO NOT need more than that- it is quite flavorful.  We added white truffle oil, you can use black.  If real truffles are available and you are a baller, go for it.  We fantasized about getting some truffles for this and decided…  maybe, just maybe next time :)

By the way- if you have not had truffle oil or truffles-  GET ON IT :)  It brings such a unique umami flavor- heady and full- hard for me to describe- but go for it.  And if you are in a fancy place and they are offering a truffle supplement and they happen to be shaving the REAL deal truffles over your food?  Well?  Go for it.  DOOO it.  You will not regret it.DSCN4188

Add the pasta to the sauce, and pour into a 9″x13″ casserole.  It fits PERFECTLY.DSCN4193 DSCN4195

Top with the toasted cracker crumbs…DSCN4199And place in a 425 oven for about 20-25 minutes until bubbling on all sides and slightly browned.  Allow to rest for about 10 minutes before inhaling it!

DSCN4202AMAAAAAZING.   mmmm.

 

Outrageous (and cheap!) Truffle Mac 'n Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Side dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 pounds of cheese ends (mixture of American, swiss, provolone, cheddar, muenster, etc)- cubed into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 pound shaped pasta (shells, elbows, rotini, etc)
  • 1 quart milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter (3 tablespoons for sauce, 3 for cracker topping)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon white truffle oil, best quality available
  • 1.5 sleeves of crushed butter crackers (ritz)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425. You will need a 9"x13" baking dish.
Make the Sauce:
  1. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan; add 3 tablespoons of flour and whisk until the flour is lightly golden brown and cooked
  2. Add the milk; whisk to remove any lumps. Allow to come to a bubble.
  3. Add the cheese; whisk to melt completely.
  4. Taste; add salt and pepper if necessary.
  5. Add the truffle oil.
Cook pasta to package directions, under cooking by 1-2 minutes (the pasta should still be a tiny bit crunchy on the interior. Drain.
Make the topping:
  1. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan; add the crushed ritz crackers. Stirring frequently, toast the crackers in the butter until golden brown.
Assemble:
  1. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce, stir. Pour the mixture into a 9"x13" casserole dish. Top with cracker crumbs.
  2. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

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See that deliciousness with my chicken?  Yes- it IS this amazing mac and cheese!

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5 Responses to Outrageous (and cheap!) Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese

  1. Kate says:

    Where do you even get cheese ends? I’ve never seen them.

  2. Looks delicious! I usually use cheese ends too!!:)
    When Greg made the lobster Mac last wknd-he used my homemade croutons on it –sooo good!! It really added the extra crunch to it!:)

  3. It’s only 10:15 and I would devour an entire bowl of that! It looks delicious! I didn’t even know cheese ends were a thing, but I’ll have to look for those next time I’m making mac-n-cheese.

  4. OH MY GOD. Your food posts paired with all the running I’m doing are almost unfair! I’m always so hungry and that looks so delicious….

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