While pondering what to cook for a friend last night and browsing my housemate’s Nigella, I came across her quick and easy recipe for macaroni cheese and hit upon a great idea. Actually, I lie, I can’t claim the idea was totally mine, but the addition to her basic recipe was inspired a recent meal at the Living Rooms, where they had added the indulgent treat of truffle oil to the mix.
I don’t know what it is about truffles that makes them so damn good; I’ve been lucky enough to sample them in ravioli and a delicious ‘white’ pizza in Italy, and, even more indulgent, with steak here in London. Whatever you put them with, it seems to work, so it’s no surprise really that it gives a luxurious dimension to this otherwise humble dish. Toast some little croutons in a bit of oil and a splash of the stuff too, then sprinkle on top to add a bit of texture and crunch. Et voila; quick macaroni cheese with a twist!
RECIPE (adapted from Nigella Express)
250g macaroni, 250g mature Cheddar or Red Leicester, or a mix of both, 350ml evaporated milk (Nigella’s recipe says 250ml but I did not find this enough), 2 eggs, a grating of fresh nutmeg, salt & pepper, AND… 1 1/2 tablespoons truffle oil, plus 2 slices of white or brown bread for the croutons
- Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C/gas mark 7. Cook the macaroni according to packet instructions, drain and pour back in to the hot pan
- While the pasta is cooking, put the cheese, evaporated milk, eggs and nutmeg in a processor and mix. Or grate the cheese and mix everything else by hand
- Add in your magic ingredient, the truffle oil, and stir well. Then pour the whole mixture over the macaroni, stir well again and season with salt and pepper to taste
- Tip in to a 25.5cm diameter dish, or a rectangular one roughly the same length, and bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes
- While this cooking, roughly chop the slices of bread in to little cubes, and fry in a shallow frying pan with a little olive oil and a splash more truffle oil
- Remove the macaroni cheese from the oven, scatter the croutons on top, and then bake for a further 5 minutes or until the croutons are going brown on top