Nothing more American classic than the ‘humble’ simple macaroni and cheese casserole, served so very often at the American table. This popular dish has been surprise to me. One would think that as Italian born, growing up with pasta as comfort food almost everyday, I should have known this excellent ‘pasta al forno’ (baked pasta casserole). Instead I did not, not this one.
The cheddar cheese, sharp or mild adds such an unique American flavor! So, I do not pretend here to have the perfect recipe, as everybody in the States has its own excellent version, mine has just a touch inspired by French cuisine. I had to try it with a sprinkle of truffle salt and oil, perfect companions of cheeses and pasta. You can skip it, either way this’ humble ‘pasta casserole is a real comfort for your soul.
If you like the taste of truffles, truffle oil and/or truffle salt will last you for a long time, and are great ingredients to enhance in winter time the flavor of soups, eggs, baked potatoes, all meats and…pasta!!!
Ingredients: serves 6 to 8
- 1/2 pound elbow macaroni or 8 oz. package
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
- 1+ 1/2 cup sharp or mild cheddar, shredded
- 1 cup shredded gruyere
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- salt and pepper at your taste
- 2 tablespoons butter or mix oil and butter
- 1 cup of bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon truffle oil
- 1 teaspoon truffle salt
How to make it:
- Pre heat the oven at 350F.
- Boil elbows following package direction till al dente,drain well. Reserve into a large bowl.
- In a saucepan, over medium low heat, melt butter, when butter has melted add flour, powdered mustard. Whisk using a wooden till all combined about 3 minutes. Gradually add milk and liquid cream, making sure there are no lumps (use a metallic whisk), add salt and pepper, nutmeg and paprika, whisk well.
- Stir into the bechamel the egg, half of cheddar and gruyere cheese, adjust seasoning.
- Pour the creamy bechamel into the macaroni, combine.
- Butter lightly a casserole dish, pour in the creamy macaroni, sprinkle largely with remaining cheeses.
- In a smal skillet, melt 1 slice of butter, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, add bread crumbs and toss them well to coat. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of truffle oil, 1 teaspoon of truffle salt. coat well.
- Top the truffled breadcrumbs over macaroni, bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let it rest for 5 minutes.
It is time for dinner, it’s warm with a fresh garden salad!!!