There are some things that come from the kitchen that you just don’t mess with. The classic French onion soup, the best filet mignon ever and my mom’s Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole. Some recipes are just better left alone.
Mac and cheese is not one of those recipes. Mac and cheese just begs to be fashioned to fit your cravings.
In honor of today being National Cheese Lovers Day (hey! did they get my memo and create this day just for me?) I directed my cravings to my brain to create a surprisingly easy, silky and cheesy sauce for a not so traditional macaroni and cheese.
Isn’t eating your cravings the best way to celebrate a day like today?
Not Your Every Day Mac n Cheese
Most every macaroni and cheese starts with the humble, classic and basic beginnings of butter, milk and cheese. It’s the base for all the glory. But it’s also the play land for every home cook’s whims, fancies and experimentation.
I started off this recipe with a craving for something a little more elegant and not quite as heavy as a super decadent and rich cheddar macaroni and cheese—like this mac and cheese recipe that will put you under the table.
This time around I was inspired by my snowy view of the mountains out my front door and so I chose three white cheeses to create my lush sauce. Easily meltable Swiss cheese, white cheddar and a bit of salty Parmesan all represent and bring out their own strengths to round out the flavor.
The cheeses were the perfect complement to a unique essence for macaroni and cheese: Truffles.
What the Heck Are Truffles?
They’re rare wild mushrooms that are foraged by dogs and wild hogs.The truffles impart a deep, earthy flavor to dishes but because of their rarity, they are on the $cha-ching$ side of the cash register. But I found a way around that.
Instead of using regular truffles that can break the bank (shown in the pic above), I used blended truffle butter from my local Italian deli to really keep the price point in check.
If you can’t find pre-made truffle butter at your grocery store or deli, you could make your own by combining butter and truffle oil like in this recipe.
About the Recipe
For a surprise macaroni contender I used mini gnocchi. You know. Just to shake things up a bit.
Because it’s made from potato, gnocchi technically isn’t a pasta, nor a noodle aka macaroni. But the supple bite is one of my favorites (harkening back to that craving again) and it gives this dish a deliciously solid bite. I used mini gnocchi so the cheesy truffled sauce was in balance with each bite.
I’ve found that I get the best cheese sauce when I use cold milk and dump it into the butter and flour roux all at once, and bring to a boil while whisking. There are no clumps and the sauce thickens just right as it cooks.
With all of these gooey flavors around, it would be very unfortunate not to mention the crunchy topper that ups this cheese lovers dish.
A simple combo of bread crumbs, garlic, parmesan and parsley is accented with truffle flavor once again thanks to another drizzle of melted truffle butter to create a delicately crunchy topper when this baby is delivered hot out of the oven.
This recipe can easily be made ahead and baked later. Prep all the way but don’t bake. Refrigerate for up to 2-3 days and then when you’re ready, bake it at 350 degrees F, uncovered, for 35-45 minutes or until bubbly and hot.
Get the full recipe for my Truffled Gnocchi Macaroni and Cheese here.
- 2 16 ounce boxes mini gnocchi
- 4 tablespoons truffle butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 ½ cups Wisconsin swiss cheese, grated
- 1 cup Wisconsin white cheddar cheese
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Wisconsin parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¼ cup dry bread crumbs
- 1 peeled garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Cook gnocchi to al denté. according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, prepare cheese sauce. Melt 3 tablespoons truffle butter in large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine, cooking over medium-low heat 3-4 minutes, whisking, until flour mixture becomes light brown in color. Add milk while whisking and cook over medium heat 5-10 minutes or until sauce thickens.
- While the sauce cooks, melt remaining tablespoon of truffle butter. Add bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, melted butter, garlic clove and parsley to a food processor and process for 30 seconds or until minced. Set aside.
- Remove sauce from heat and add swiss, white cheddar and remaining ½ cup parmesan cheeses; stir until melted. Season with kosher salt and white ground pepper.
- Add drained gnocchi to sauce and stir to combine. Pour into an 8x8-inch baking pan or 1 quart casserole dish and sprinkle with bread crumb mixture and additional parmesan cheese, if desired. Bake 10-15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and bubbly. Serve immediately.
A Marvelous Mac Attack!
Why stop with just one marvelous mac and cheese when you can have more. More. MORE!!! Here are a few more food bloggers who are celebrating National Cheese Lovers Day with me—and their mac and cheese.
Creamy Poblano Stove Top Mac and Cheese from Annie’s Eats
Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese Bites from Baked Bree
Mini Mac and Cheese Pot Pies from Half Baked Harvest
Kale Pesto Mac and Cheese from Brooklyn Supper
Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese from Well Plated with Erin
Crab Rangoon Macaroni and Cheese from Food in My Beard
Gouda & Hot Honey Macaroni Grilled Cheese from Grilled Cheese Social
Irish Colcannon Mac and Cheese from The Candid Appetite
Southwest Stove Top Mac & Cheese from Baked By Rachel
Thanks for stopping by and visiting FoodieCrush. Have something to say? I’d love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below.
And hey! Make it a great day and cook something good.
This post is in partnership with the Wisconsin Cheese Milk Marketing Board because I love cheese. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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