What is there to say about this dish really except “YUM!”? I had been craving and eager to make some dressed up mac and cheese for a while. I made the mistake of mentioning it to my boyfriend a few weeks before I actually had time and an appetite amidst all of the holiday gluttony to indulge in making it. So every other day I’d hear, “Are you making mac and cheese tonight?” with wide eyes and an excited grin. The great thing about this recipe is that it is loaded with veggies. So if your New Year’s resolution is to eat more vegetables, this one’s for you! And since I use milk instead of cream, it’s actually quite healthy, or healthier anyway. I don’t know if it was the drawn out anticipation of this dish, or just that it really is that good (which personally, I think it is), but the entire casserole dish of this in my house was eaten in less than 24 hours. And might I remind you, there are only two of us. It’s definitely fit for a special occasion and would make a wonderful New Year’s Eve dinner item served with a hearty winter salad.
Truffled Macaroni and Cheese with Broccolini and Cauliflower
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 cups broccolini, coarsely chopped
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 small onion, chopped
- Coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup coarsely grated raw white cheddar cheese
- 1 cup coarsely grated yellow cheddar cheese
- 1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère
- 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, divided
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
- 1/2 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
- 10 ounces whole wheat penne (3 1/2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
- Kosher salt, and cracked black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente; drain and reserve.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccolini and cauliflower; sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with coarse salt and pepper.
In a 3-quart heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour to coat onion. In a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps. Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Stir in cheddar cheeses, 1/2 cup of parmesan, crème fraîche, and mustard until combined. Season with 1 a pinch of salt and 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper.
Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon in half of pasta mixture. Pour half of cheese mixture over pasta. Add remaining pasta to dish and pour remaining cheese mixture over pasta. Drizzle with truffle oil and toss. Be sure that all pasta is immersed in cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining parmesan on top and bake until top is golden, about 35 minutes.