Most of us grew up loving macaroni and cheese and I’m no exception. But now that I’m all grown up, I prefer a more sophisticated version than the one my mom made for me. I add a little truffle oil to kick it into another sphere. If you really like truffles and have some fresh ones on hand, chop them up and stir them into the casserole before baking for even more flavor. On the other hand, you could omit the truffle oil and still end up with an amazing mac and cheese.—Rick Tramonto

What is LC Hump Day Pasta?

We’re glad you asked. LC Hump Day Pasta (#LCHumpDayPasta) is a little something we cooked up to help you on the night of the week that you feel least like cooking. Wednesday was traditionally Prince Spaghetti Day (for those of you old enough to remember). We’ve revamped and updated that to Hump Day and included every type of pasta there is.

Truffled Mac and Cheese FAQs

Is there any way to make this mac and cheese faster?

We found, through a rather fortuitous accident, that the recipe can easily be tweaked for those nights when you’re short on time. (Is there ever a night when you’re not short on time?) Simply omit the baking time and instead toss the cooked pasta with the cheesy, truffle-y goodness, top with the breadcrumbs, and run under the broiler just long enough to crisp the crumbs. See? High falutin’ and weeknight-savvy.

Can I add black truffles to this recipe, too?

If you take a look at the pic above, you’ll notice a mound of lovely, rich black truffle slices on top of the creamy mac and cheese. If you have some on hand, or feel like making this dish extra-special, go ahead and sprinkle some on. When it comes to truffles, you should be free to do whatever you like, darling.

What’s the difference between black and white truffles?

If you’re buying a truffle or truffle oil for the first time, you’ll want to know what you’re getting. Black truffles are less expensive and have a softer flavor, often compared to earth, red wine, or chocolate. Physically, they’re a little hardier and can stand up to heat, making them suitable for pizza, pasta, and truffle butter.

White truffles have a strong ammonia-like scent but a flavor that can be rather garlic-like. More expensive and a little fragile, they’re best used in delicate dishes, usually raw and shaved. Using white truffle-infused oil is a great way to get the flavor at a manageable price.

Truffled mac and cheese in four mini-casserole pans, one with a fork and a few mouthfuls missing.

Truffled Mac and Cheese

4.67 / 6 votes
Mac and cheese just went from kids' food to fancy schmancy. All you need to do is toss in a few shavings of black truffle and some truffle oil. Pricey, perhaps. But well worth it every once in a special while.
David Leite
CourseMains
CuisineAmerican
Servings4 servings
Calories1018 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time1 hour

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons white truffle oil (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/4 pound Swiss cheese, grated
  • 1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 pound Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon of the truffle oil.
  • In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is thoroughly combined and forms a paste. Whisk in the half-and-half, bring to a simmer, and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the Swiss, Cheddar, and Fontina cheeses, and then add the mustard. Remove the sauce from the heat when the cheeses have melted. Stir in the remaining truffle oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium heat and cook the macaroni for about 7 minutes, until al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the saucepan with the cheese sauce. Stir well.
  • Turn the macaroni and cheese into a buttered 2-quart baking dish. (At this point you could refrigerate the casserole dish for up to 24 hours.) Top the casserole with the breadcrumb mixture and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling.
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Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 1018 kcalCarbohydrates: 73 gProtein: 42 gFat: 62 gSaturated Fat: 33 gMonounsaturated Fat: 22 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 160 mgSodium: 914 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 4 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 Rick Tramonto. Photo © 2010 Ben Fink. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Truffled mac and cheese is a rich, creamy casserole with very sensual overtones. Its decadent, earthy muskiness makes you want to partake in more than you really should! The flavour generated by using white truffle oil is exceptional without the added fresh truffle. I tried this as is, and also with a few chopped shavings of fresh black truffle over the warmed mixture, once plated. It’s somewhat nicer, but it’s an expensive indulgence.

Note: If using freshly grated Parmesan (recommended), you need about 1 1/2 ounces. The recipe also needed 5 minutes of extra time to heat the cream to a simmer. The completed casserole won’t fit in a 1-quart dish, but will amply fill a 2-quart dish. So much so, that filling it any more would have caused it to bubble over in the oven.

This is just about as good as it gets: Easy, beautiful out of the oven, and delicious. Next time, I’ll eliminate the mustard, because we’re not mustard fans, and I may cut back a bit on the truffle oil in the sauce. I may also try black truffle oil to see if there’s a difference. (I can see that I’m just thinking up excuses to make this again.) This is definitely party fare for a crowd. The recipe makes more than enough for 8 people, although it says it serves 4.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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21 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    One of the great things about mac ‘n cheese is that it is so versatile. You can pretty much tailor it to your liking or, in my case, to the cheeses you have on had. I had some leftover provolone and asiago, and decided use that and parmesan in place of the Swiss, fontina and cheddar. That worked out better than I could have imagined. Those cheeses, with the truffle oil, wow. Oh, I also substituted a sprinkle of oregano, sweet basil and garlic powder for the mustard.

    1. That sounds amazing, Greg! We’ll have to try it with some of those cheese substitutions.