Black Truffle & Gruyere Mac’n’Cheese
with caramelized onions and bacon
I love macaroni and cheese, who doesn’t. It is one of the ultimate American comforts foods. I am used to the boxed version where you boil the pasta, add in some milk, a tab of butter, and the powdered cheese packet and vuola! A meal in less than 15 minutes!
Let’s face it though, powdered cheese is gross and the idea of anything having an expiration date 50 years from now creeps me out. So what’s a girl to do when she is craving some cheesy noodles? Take that recipe from drab to fab!
After researching recipes far and wide I was left with two conclusions…
Conclusion #1: There are a lot of recipes for macaroni and cheese.
Conclusion #2: Bacon was a staple ingredient in majority of the gourmet versions I found.
All in all, I decided on creating a macaroni dish with creamy melted Gruyere cheese over noodles with caramelized onions, bacon and a black truffle breaded topping. The Gruyere is a perfect cheese for this because not only does it melt and bake well; it doesn’t overpower the flavors of the other ingredients, since this recipe definitely has a lot of flavor going on. There is a rich, sweetness from the onions, saltiness from the bacon and a nice finish with the cheese and truffle oil. Can I get a “Yum-O”?
(My recipe is a version off of Ina Garton’s Food Network recipe. She included a lot of fancy ingredients that weren’t really my style, so I referenced some of hers).
- 3 tbsp. Black Truffle Oil + more for drizzling (White Truffle Oil works just as well. It has a more mild flavor than the Black Truffle Oil)
- 3 tbsp. Butter
- 1 lb. Trottloe Pasta
- 1 Spanish Onion, sliced thin
- 1 bottle of Stella Artois beer
- 1 c. of Bread Crumbs
- ½ c. of Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
- ½ lb. to 1 lb. of good quality Bacon
- 1 c. Shredded Gruyere Cheese
- 1 c. Whole Milk
- 1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3-4 tbsp. of Flour
- Salt/ Pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 450°
- Fill a pot with water and set to medium heat on the stove to boil. Once boiling add the pasta and cook. Set aside the cooked pasta.
- Heat an oven/ stove safe cooking pot (I use my Le Creuset) over medium heat. If you do not have one of these, you can use a semi deep sauté pan.
- Give your bacon a rough chop (1/2 in. sizes) and add it to the heated cooking pot or sauté pan.
- Cook bacon until almost fully cooked (you want it brown but not overly crispy). Remove and set aside. Get rid of the bacon grease from the pan.
- In the same pot/pan add the 3 tbsp. of black truffle oil and 1 tbsp. of butter. Put back on the stove over medium heat. Add in the onions and sauté with some salt and pepper. Allow onions to cook for about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
- When the onions start to cook down and become translucent add in the Apple Cider Vinegar and about ¼ cup to ½ cup of the Stella Artois beer. Cook for about 15 more minutes so the alcohol burns off (cooks down) and the onions become browned and caramelized.
- Remove the onions from the pot/pan and set aside.
- In the same pot/ pan add in another ¼ cup to ½ cup of the Stella Artois beer. Cook over medium low heat, scraping the bottom of the pan, about 5-8 minutes. Add in the whole milk and 2 tbsp. of butter.
- This part is tricky. You want to heat the milk just under a simmer. You don’t want to boil the milk because it will curdle and get ruined. Once the butter is melted and the milk is almost simmering, slowly whisk in 1 tbsp. at a time the flour. Don’t stop whisking or else it will get lumpy. It should become thick and creamy once all the flour has been added.
- Remove from heat and stir in the Gruyere cheese and lots of pepper (optional).
- Add your cooked pasta to the cheese and mix together. Transfer to an oven safe pan (if you are using a Le Creuset then you can keep it in the same pot).
- Add the chopped bacon to the top of the noodles, along with the caramelized onions.
- Sprinkle your breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese over the top and then drizzle with more truffle oil.
- Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned. Don’t over cooked or your cheese mixture with get grainy and gross.
- Remove from the oven and serve!