Truffled Macaroni & Cauliflower Gratin

I was left with only scraps from the truffle I used for this over-the-top sponge cake and those scallops in puff pastry so what better use for those precious bits than a truffled mac & cheese? Building this simple and gratifying dish on dried pasta is fine, but please don’t let the cheese be ordinary my friends. To make an elevated Mac ‘n’ Cheese studded with black diamond shavings, un gratin de macaronis à la truffe noire, bring on the Comté, the Fontina, the Gruyère and the Appenzeller.

I don’t often talk about wine but I probably should. Since this is adult comfort food at its finest a glass of Barbaresco with hints of cherry, truffle, fennel and licorice is the wine pairing of choice. Nebbiolo-based wines tend to do best when their rich, full flavors are paired with rich foods, and they do particularly well with high flavor cheeses. The cauliflower is absolutely optional of course but it adds a bit more character to the dish. A no-brainer since all these ingredients have such a natural affinity for each other. I’m getting hungry just talking about it.

I’ve never quite understood the appeal of macaroni and cheese out of a box. Some say it’s convenient, but what’s so inconvenient about making a simple bechamel and melting freshly grated cheese in it? It took me 10 minutes to place the dish topped with breadcrumbs in the oven. Just about as long it takes to cook the pasta it takes to make the sauce. And needless to say, no truffle, no problem. This is a terrific mac & cheese on its own.

This is the last installment in the truffle trilogy where I make three recipes out of a 1 ounce black truffle from Provence. I guess what I was trying to demonstrate is that while it’s expensive, a little goes a long way. Mission accomplished?

  • Truffled Macaroni & Cauliflower Gratin

    • Serves 6
    • Truffled Mac & Cheese
    • 12 ounces elbow pasta
    • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets (optional)
    • salt, to taste
    • 6 tablespoons butter
    • 3/4 cup bread crumbs, preferably panko
    • 1 cup grated Parmesan
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 3 1/2 cups milk
    • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère
    • 1 1/2 cups grated Comté
    • 3/4 cup grated grated fontina
    • 3/4 cup grated Appenzeller
    • 1/4 ounce (or to taste) fresh black truffle, grated
    • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • For the Truffled Macaroni & Cauliflower gratin:
    • Heat oven to 350’F. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow pasta and cook until not quite al dente, about 7 minutes. Add the cauliflower florets to the pasta water and blanch for 1 minute. Drain pasta and cauliflower and set aside.
    • Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the bread crumbs and Parmesan, toss to combine and cook until golden. Transfer to a bowl.
    • In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining butter and whisk in the flour until smooth. Whisk in the milk and cook, continuing to whisk often, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Stir in the Gruyère, the Comté, the fontina and the Appenzeller and whisk until the cheese is melted and incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove pan from heat and stir in the reserved pasta, the cauliflower and the truffle shaved with a microplane grater. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart baking dish and top with the bread crumb/parmesan mixture. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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  • Ryan Placchetti

    Well, I guess what I learned today is to not snub macaroni and cheese. Thanks for killing yet another one of my sacred cows.

  • mayssam @ Will Travel for Food

    Never quite understood the appeal of a box of mac and cheese either, especially since béchamel is soooo good when made from scratch! J’ai pas de truffes mais je vais l’essayer quand même!

  • Stacey Snacks

    Are you kidding me?  Oh my!

  • Mirauncut

    Love mac and cheese. Looks yummy! And I can answer why most make it out of a box, not that I agree with it, i don’t think most people know what “bechemel” sauce is, or how to make one for that matter. Ask 5 random ordinary people, not in the food world. They have no idea.

  • Part Time House Wife

    awseome pictures!!! buzzed ya

  • Kiri W.

    Wow, that’s a pricey recipe, but oh, does it look fantastic! :) I would just love this.

  • Mica Ivealis

    Love this dish, although I must be one of the only people on the planet that does not like truffles so I will make this without them. 

  • PolaM

    looks delicious! An all grown up version of mac and cheese!

  • Asha

    Truffles!!! LOL.. oh you know, how to kill me! 😛

  • Purabinaha55

    Loved the recipe and the photograph!! You are so talented!

  • Julia Mestas

    WOW!!!!  Your pictures are gorgeous, and the recipe, oh my word, it’s sounds unreal!

  • The Mistress of Spices

    OMG, this looks orgasmic! I doubt I could find any truffles here in Thailand, but perhaps I could try this with a smidgen of truffle oil instead. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Frankie

    Loved this recipe! Perfect!

  • Natalie

    Oh my….  Looks absolutely fantastic!  Macaroni and cheese is my kryptonite.. along with truffles for that matter!!  Yum yum!!

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry to see the last of the truffle!  But this is a stylish way to end your truffle recipes.  Good recipe – I love the addition of cauliflower.  And I enjoy it when you talk about wine, so please do more of that!  Nice pictures.  The bottom one is particularly nice (I’m not sure if it’s the “best” but it’s my favorite).  Thanks for this.

  • Bioticman1135

    how much is one small truffle anyways and where can u buy it?

  • Ally

    Wow… this looks absolutely divine. Macaroni on steroids. Delicious, decadent steroids. Fabulous work! Stunning photography as well.

  • Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out

    Oh. My. Goodness. I die.

  • lannie

    oh wow…. so decadent and satisfying looking!  gorgeous pictures!

  • Chris Chang

    Yes Mission accomplished Chef! Beautiful! Once again a great idea and now I want some comfort food…

    I’m bookmarking this, hopefully I get around to the other tons of recipes I want to try…

  • Oui, Chef

    Comté is one of my all-time favorite cheeses, I am so happy to see it used here.  Can’t wait for next year’s truffle trifecta, though you’ll have to work extra hard to beat this year’s recipes.

  • Shannon Yac

    holy crap!  a million dollar mac n cheese! looks amazing and I’m drooling right now!

  • Shannon Yac

    holy crap!  a million dollar mac n cheese! looks amazing and I’m drooling right now!

  • Anonymous

    Oh nooo! Help! Is there a doctor in the room!? 

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Ally. 

  • Anonymous

    One ounce black truffle should cost about $80 t0 $90 but the price changes every year depending on how abundant they are. Try upscale Italian or French markets or online via a company like Urbani. 

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, John! 

  • Anonymous

    The cow. Is she like.. dead? 

  • Anonymous

    You’re probably right! I take too many things for granted. :)

  • Anonymous

    Save the truffles for me! :) 

  • Colloquial Cook

    Petit Fenouil : “Moi, chaime pas le fromache.”
    Zenchef : “Merci de votre participation constructive.”