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by on July 21st, 2013

White Cheddar Mac and Cheese w/ Truffle Oil

Who says you can never go home again!

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We  were recently back home for my twin sister’s husband’s (Gary) funeral. Why is it so hard to say goodbye to someone you have known for most of your life even though you know there is no more suffering and he is in a better place.

We saw so many of their friends and our old friends from years of growing up in Caruthersville and while sitting in Church looking around, I’m thinking did I get older too, and when did that happen; I guessI haven’t spent too much time looking in the mirror.

Even though it was such a difficult time it was great seeing all of Gary’s family together for each other. One night while visiting with his cousin, Frankie and her husband, Paul (we grew up as neighbors) reminded me of the time he was pulling my sister and me in a little wagon and we were topless. He has the picture and if I get it I will surely post it here. Now, I’m sure we were five or six years old and cute as a bug back then.

So, when I here “you can’t go home again” I say phooey. I can close my eyes and find myself in Figgens ice cream shop as a little kid sitting on a stool, legs swinging, having a Walk-Away sundae, or pulling in at Knox’s drive-in during lunch at high school, or picking cotton (for fun) when we were in high school, riding the loop of our small town, parking at the sea wall, going into Sears and Roebuck to pick up an anticipated brown package with a plaid back to school dress and even memories of standing in the kitchen with my mother with “The Wayward Wind” playing in the background from some vintage radio. When we go back home I really feel like we never left.

One of the homiest (if that’s a word) food I can think of as a comfort food would be macaroni and cheese. While we were in Nashville a few weeks ago, we had dinner at the Firefly restaurant with my sister. We decided to try their Truffled White Cheddar Mac and Cheese appetizer. It was perfect for the three of us to share. It was such a delicious, creamy, tangy concoction topped with crunchy panko bread crumbs.

After questioning the very nice waiter, I came away with a list of ingredients — white cheddar, goat cheese, truffle oil and cream fraiche. So, I’m thinking the creme fraiche takes the place of a cream sauce that usually sticks allthat macaroni together; now I just need to experiment with the recipe and especially the amount of truffle oil.

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Such simple ingredients.

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Boil the macaroni until tender (not al dente).

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Stir in the goat cheese while the macaroni is warm.

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Stir in the creme fraiche (see recipe below to make your own).

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Add in the white cheddar, parmesan cheese, truffle oil, salt and pepper and cream if you think you need it.

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Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over top of macaroni*.

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Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

White Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Truffle Oil

12 oz. pkg. elbow macaroni*
3/4 lb. white cheddar cheese, crated
3/4 c. parmesan cheese
2 c. cream fraiche** (make your own, it is so much cheaper)
1/2 c. cream, or more, warmed if needed to thin
4 oz. goat cheese
1 tsp. truffle oil
salt and pepper to taste
Crumb Topping:
3/4 c. Panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. truffle oil, optional
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Butter a 8″x8″ baking dish. Boil the macaroni in salted water until tender. (I would not do al dente because it will tend to absorb more of the moisture from the cheeses and creme fraiche.)

Combine the warm macaroni with the grated white cheddar, creme fraiche, crumbled goat cheese, Parmesan, salt and pepper and truffle oil. If it seems too thick for you, stir in some of the warmed cream and put into buttered baking dish.

For the topping, stir together the panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, truffle oil and butter. Sprinkle top of Mac and Cheese with as much of the topping as you want.

Put in 350° oven and bake until nice and brown and cheeses have melted about 20 minutes. If it starts to brown too much, either turn down the heat or cover with foil for awhile. Remove foil towards the end of baking to make sure crumbs have browned. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

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*I tried using the whole 16 oz. box of elbow macaroni and it was too much macaroni for that amount of cheese. I wanted it a little bit creamier.

**You really should start making your own creme fraiche.  It is so simple you won’t believe it.  Take one 8 oz. carton of heavy whipping cream put in a non-reactive bowl such as glass and add one tablespoon buttermilk, stir, cover loosely with either paper towel or tea towel. Leave sitting on your counter for 24 hours.  By the end of 24 hours you will have a thicken cream. Refrigerate in a glass jar and it will thicken even more as it chills.  Good for a couple of weeks at least. Now wasn’t that easy. Who wants to pay $5 for an 8 oz. container of the creme fraiche anyway.

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