Of all the comfort foods mac and cheese has been one of the most classic for generations. Homemade versions are a far cry from the boxed varieties and who else but the Barefoot Contessa could come up with an extra creamy truffle mac and cheese! You can always count on her recipes for tons of flavor and a classy flair.
For this dish I took her instructions and made them a bit easier. In her recipe she calls for making your own truffle butter. But, since you can buy truffle oil lots of places these days I decided to use that instead. Other than that shortcut the recipe is pretty similar to the original.
To really enjoy this recipe you’ll need to be a fan of truffles (and of mushrooms in general). These fragrant underground funghi are rare and have a very deep, very earthy taste and aroma. They don’t have a taste like regular mushrooms, but when combined with other types of mushrooms the flavors of both are heightened. And, that’s what we’re doing here. In addition to the truffle oil we’re also going to sauté some cremini mushrooms to add some meaty texture to the dish.
To get the creamiest, tastiest mac and cheese you’ll need to make a béchamel sauce from scratch and then add cheese to it. The effort is totally worth it though since you’ll have the richest, smoothest cheese sauce for the noodles when the sauce is done.
The top is covered in a generous layer of breadcrumbs for a little crunch in every bite. I suggest using a deep pan since this recipe makes a lot of mac and cheese and you don’t want those breadcrumbs spilling out. This is a great recipe to save extras for later, too.
For the richest, tastiest mac and cheese this truffle version hits the spot every time. It’s comfort food, but elevated to another level.
Ina Garten's Truffle Mac and Cheese
20m prep time
58m cook time
- 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced thick
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 12 oz short pasta (like elbow, ditalini, shells, or bowties)
- 4 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups grated Swiss cheese
- 3 cups grated extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons truffle oil
- 1 1/2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 375˚F. Cook and drain pasta according to package directions for al dente. Set aside.
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in skillet on medium. Add mushrooms and cook for 6 minutes or until browned. Deglaze with apple cider vinegar and stir until no liquid remains. Remove from heat.
- Pour milk to microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until scalded (180˚F). Set aside for a few minutes. Or heat in small saucepan on low on stovetop.
- In clean saucepan melt butter over medium low. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute or until turning lightly golden. Whisk in milk and add cheeses, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring often. Remove from heat. Stir in truffle oil and set aside.
- Combine remaining oil with breadcrumbs and parsley. Set aside.
- In 9”x13” baking dish stir together 2/3 of cooked mushrooms, pasta, and sauce. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top. Add remaining mushrooms to top of casserole. Bake for 35-45 minutes until browning at the edges.
Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa.