Thursday, May 27, 2010

Crab Mac & Cheese with Truffle Oil


After being inspired by Ina Garten's Lobster Mac and Cheese on The Food Network's Barefoot Contessa, I played with a Mac and Cheese recipe of my own. I tried the recipe a few days ago and it turned out to be a HUGE crowd-pleaser  (keep in mind that my "crowd" consisted of 4 people, including myself). This recipe made enough to serve 6 or 7 people so go ahead and alter it accordingly...

Lump Crab Mac & Cheese with Truffle Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta shells (you can use elbow macaroni, etc if you prefer)
  • 1 quart milk (I used whole milk to ensure creaminess) 
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 ounces Gruyere cheese (I used the stinkiest cave-aged Gruyere I could find!)
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar (I used Tillamook vintage-aged white cheddar) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (try white pepper for added kick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 oz cooked lump crab meat (if you are on a tight budget, use claw meat!)
  • 1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese
  • Black Truffle Oil
  • Chives, Chopped finely

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle olive oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Drain well.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.
  4. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked shells and crab and stir well. Place the mixture in 6 to 8 individual gratin dishes or one big dish (whichever you prefer).
  5. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.
  6. Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese and chives over the bread crumbs  
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it looks bubbly and browned on the top.
  8. Pull out of oven and drizzle each serving with black truffle oil before eating
SO simple to make. So delicious.

Tip: Make sure that the rest of your meal is light to balance the richness of the mac and cheese. I went to my local farmers market the day I made this dish and put together a salad with baby greens, fresh raspberries, avocado, and a Meyer lemon tangerine vinaigrette. It was so perfect with the baked pasta.

1 comment:

  1. I had this dish at a restaurant and I loved it, so I wanted to make it at home. It turned out really good! I made one large dish instead of individual ramekins. Also, I reduced 2 tbsp of butter in the white sauce and replaced with 2 tbsp of truffle oil (I wanted the truffle flavor infused in the dish vs. drizzled on top). Overall, very good recipe- will definitely make again!

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