Last week we celebrated my 30th birthday with a weekend in Paris and then back in London for a good old fashioned knees up. Then, having finally recovered from all the celebrations, I cooked my first meal as a 30-year old. Truffle macaroni and cheese.
Being 30, I really ought to have moved on from my lifelong belief that macaroni and cheese with mashed potatoes on the side is the perfect meal.
And yet I haven’t.
But I have managed to 1) replace the mashed potatoes with a side salad, albeit begrudgingly and 2) experiment with more sophisticated interpretations of the beloved macaroni and cheese. I’ve tried it with butternut squash, with avocado, with veggies, with brown macaroni, I’ve tried it vegan.
But macaroni and cheese with truffle oil was always going to be The Ultimate. So when I found an interpretation of Heston Blumenthal’s recipe on iamafoodblog.com, which not only used truffle oil but also a lot of wine, I knew it was perfect for this occasion.
But to make this veggie friendly, I adapted the recipe by subbing veggie stock for chicken, and I used a mature cheddar cheese instead of parmesean (which always contains animal rennet).
This is actually a pretty flexible recipe- you could try it with all sort of cheese and wine combos, and even if you don’t have truffle oil its a pretty fine sauce without it.
- 160g or 1⅓ cups macaroni
- 125 mls or ½ cup dry white wine (I used a chardonnay)
- 300 mls or 1¼ cup vegetable stock
- 40g or ½ cup grated cheddar cheese (the strongest you can get your hands on- if you are doubting the strength of your cheddar, add another handful to the mix to boost the flavour)
- 1 Tblsp flour
- 70g or ½ cup cream cheese
- 1 tsp to 1 Tblsp truffle oil- this depends on the strength of your oil. Using my favourite restaurant strength oil, 1 tsp was plenty
- Black pepper
- Reduce your white wine in a saucepan by boiling it without a lid for 5 to 10 minutes, until there's about half as much as you started with and its thick and a bit more syrupy. Your kitchen might smell a little gross- sorry bout that.
- While your wine is reducing, toss together the flour and the cheddar cheese so the cheese is all coated in flour. This prevents the flour from clumping up, without needing to make a roux.
- Take the wine off the heat and add the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer.
- This is the fun part! Throw the cheese/flour mix into the wine/stock, and whisk it all together as it thickens and melts.
- Now add the cream cheese and stir in as it melts... And you have yourself a cheese sauce.
- Cook the macaroni according to package instructions, while keeping your sauce warm.
- Quickly whisk your truffle oil into the cheese sauce, and then pour over the cooked the macaroni. Grind lots of black pepper in.
- You could bake this or not- I chose not. The sauce is deliciously creamy and slurpy, so eating it immediately felt like the right thing to do.
And now lets toast to adulthood, where you get to eat the same comforting food but with wine and expensive oils mixed in. Happy days!