Truffle Mac and Cheese

It was fancy dinner night in our household. REB found a recipe for truffle mac and cheese and so we tried it out. Now, I’m not a huge mushroom person. I’m warming up to the taste of them, but it’s a slow process. However since we’re vegetarians, we need to find protein in other forms, which mushrooms fulfill.

The recipe he found was out of Maxim magazine in a segment about “foods guys can cook”, or whatever. The chef is Graham Elliot Bowles from Chicago, IL, and this dish actually tasted great. We changed it up a bit, but for the most part, it’s great as is.

What you’ll need:
•2 cups pasta (we used Cavatappi, my favorite kind of pasta!)
•1 can cream of mushroom soup (I bought the low fat, low sodium variety)
•1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (more like 1/2 cup for us :-X oops)
•1/4 cup Provolone cheese, grated (more like 1/2 cup of us :-X oops)
•1 tablespoon white truffle oil
•12 Cremini mushrooms, whole
•1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

If you noticed, the star ingredient in this dish is white truffle oil. So what the heck is it?

Truffle oil is basically a cop-out move to add truffle flavor with olive oil, rather than spending a whole lot of money to buy real truffles. And believe me, you can buy real truffles. I saw them in a locked up box in Wegmans store in upstate New York. Crazy stuff. Anyway, I bought this bottle which will last me forever because I have no idea what else I’ll use it for, but oh well. Another pretty something to add to my pantry. It’s a smooth flavor though and believe it or not, we could taste it in our dish.

So start by boiling the water for your pasta. While that’s going, heat up the cream of mushroom soup in another saucepan. No need to add water, let the soup just kind of warm away on low heat. Once it’s heated through and it starts to kind of bubble, whisk in the cheese and the add the truffle oil. You want to whisk and/or stir until the whole thing is smooth in texture. Then take it off the heat and set it aside.

While all this is happening, heat oil in a large saute pan. Add some regular olive oil to the pan and wait until it’s screaming hot (almost smoking), then add in the mushrooms. Now, this recipe calls for 12 whole Cremini mushrooms (baby Portabellas). However if you remember, I said I’m still getting adjusted to the taste of mushrooms, so I sliced a few up. The end result was having some texture to the dish, which is always a plus!

Cook the mushrooms for about 7-10 minutes, then add the sherry vinegar and let it cook an additional 2-3 minutes. The smell. I can’t even begin to describe the smell in our kitchen. It smelled so, so amazing.

Once the pasta is cooked, we scooped out about a cup of pasta water in case we needed it (we ended up not needing it), drained it then tossed the pasta into the mushroom sauce and then added the whole thing to the saute pan to mix with the mushrooms.

For a girl who isn’t 100% sold on mushrooms, I absolutely loved this dish. It was the perfect serving, full of protein and flavor and made me appreciate mushrooms just a little more. Of course, I didn’t eat any of the whole ones, but I did love eating the ones I sliced up!

Add some Parmesan shavings and cracked pepper on top and enjoy!

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