cooking

fancy mac and cheese

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The countdown to Thanksgiving has begun and like every year, I feel so unprepared!  Come November and Target is already replacing their Thanksgiving stuff with Christmas stuff and I just want to yell, “WAIT!  I’m not ready!”  It’s like I don’t even have the opportunity to catch up, so I’m demanding we slow down a little because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It’s a time to remember how thankful I am for good food and, of course, to stuff my face all day long with no judgement.

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I’m not sure why I wait till the actual month of November to start planning because there are hundreds of dishes that are running through my mind and I want to MAKE. THEM. ALL.  When I think about the dinner table at Thanksgiving, I know that there will be a big, juicy turkey in the middle, but what I get most excited about are the sides.  I envision a table overflowing with way too many sides.  I want my Thanksgiving plate to be piled and spilling over with food.  This classic side with a fancy twist will get you searching for more room on your plate and in your stomach!

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I took classic mac and cheese and fancied it up by adding roasted poblano peppers for spice and black truffles for an intense, distinctive flavor.  There are three ingredients that give the black truffle flavor in this dish: truffle gouda, black truffle oil and black truffle butter.  You can totally do without the black truffle butter and use plain butter instead, but to me, the more truffle, the better.  I found the black truffle butter by Fabrique Delices at Whole Foods.  Yes, it’s pricy, but a little goes a long way; think of all the other things you’ll be able to make with whatever is leftover!

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So let’s fancy up and add this to your Thanksgiving dinner menu!

Fancy Mac and Cheese

prep time: 10 minutes

cook time: 45 minutes

yields: 6-8 people

ingredients

  • elbow pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons black truffle oil
  • 2 tablespoons black truffle butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 cup truffle gouda (shredded)
  • 1 cup monterey jack (shredded)
  • 1 cup mozzarella (shredded)
  • cremini mushrooms (about 8 pieces)
  • shiitake mushrooms (about 8 pieces)
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • chives for garnish

directions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Roast poblano pepper for about 20-25 minutes or until all of the skin is wrinkled and charred.  Remove from oven and place in a Ziploc bag.  The pepper can be spicy, so I always wear gloves for the next step.  Once the poblano pepper is cool enough to touch, remove the skin, stem, seeds and roughly chop.

Cook the elbow pasta in a large pot of salted water for about 8 minutes.  Drain pasta and set aside.

In a large pan, heat unsalted butter and black truffle oil until melted.  Add flour and stir until it forms a paste.  Under medium heat, slowly whisk in the milks (evaporated and regular).  Keep whisking until the mixture thickens, this shouldn’t take very long.  Throw in the chopped poblano pepper and all the cheeses, but make sure each handful of cheese is melted before adding the next.  Turn heat to low and let sit while you get to the mushrooms.

In another pan, melt black truffle butter.  Add mushrooms and sauté until soft and brown.  Add mushrooms and pasta to the cheese sauce and mix well.  Top with a few splashes of truffle oil and chopped chives!

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