The sign of a true best friend is someone who answers the phone in a London nightclub when I’m calling from California in need of some love.
It’s the cheesiest! OK, not really in the style of that gnarly orange Kraft garbage. This is some hardcore mac n cheese. I borrowed the recipe from Ian (thanks) and only modified it slightly. Namely adding pancetta, a few garlic cloves and adding an egg yolk. Also substituted garlic and rosemary breadcrumbs (instead of the panko). It all turned out yumtastic. Highly recommend this recipe!
- 1.5 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1.5 cups sliced shitake mushrooms
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 tbsp cider vinegar (the original used sherry vinegar, I guessed and substituted)
- 4 tbsp butter (about a half cube)
- 4 tbsp flour
- 3 cups – a pint of whole milk (warmed)
- 3 oz appenzeller cheese (grated) – about 1/3 cup
- 2 oz emmental cheese (grated) – about 1/4 cup
- 2 oz gruyère cheese (grated, for sauce) – about 1/4 cup
- 3 oz gruyère cheese (grated, for topping) – about 1/3 cup
- 5 oz chevre cheese (crumbed) – a mini wheel
- 5 oz pancetta
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary (minced)
- 1 tsp fresh sage (minced)
- 0.25 tsp red chili powder
- 2 tbsp white truffle oil
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 black truffle – sliced thinly
- 4 oz breadcrumbs (or Japanese panko) – flavoured ones are nice
- 1 egg yolk
- 10 oz elbow pasta (mostly cooked, still slightly firm)
Mushrooms and garlic
Sauté the the mushrooms and garlic in the olive oil till they’re cooked and starting to caramelize (about 7-10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper, add the vinegar and reduce till it has evaporated completely. Set aside.
Herb, cheese and truffle béchamel sauce
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and whisk for 30 seconds. Add the herbs and chili powder and sauté for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and gradually add the warm milk (to keep it from forming lumps). Return it to the heat and bring it to a simmer. Add the cheese (except for 3 oz of gruyère we’re keeping for the topping) gradually, ensuring it all melts and dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the truffle oil and sliced truffle.
Combine breadcrumbs, egg yolk and 3 oz of gruyère in a bowl, mixing well with your hands.
Bring it all together
Combine the cooked pasta, mushrooms and sauce in a large bowl. Mix it well so that it all seems evenly distributed. Put it in a baking dish. Cover the top with the topping. I set it aside till soon before dinner. Pre-heat the oven to 400F / 180C, put the dish on an upper shelf of the oven till the top is golden and the cheese sauce is bubbly – about 15-20 minutes.