When Katryn and I got married I gladly asked one of my best friends, Weston, to be my best man. For guys, there is always that moment of panic as the best man prepares to give his speech at the reception and you worry that he may divulge your deepest, darkest secrets in front of everyone that you know and love. Will he tell everyone about that time that he caught you dressed up as a woman singing to Britney Spears? Or what about the time you had too much to drink and tried to make out with a lamp post? (I promise those things never happened to me but you get the idea.)
Anyways, as I am sitting nervously awaiting my fate during Weston’s speech, he pulls a fast one on me! He doesn’t tell any overly embarrassing stories and it seems that I may be getting off easy. Then, out of left field, he tells everyone the story of when I made all of my friends our family Mac-and-Cheese recipe. I grew up eating this recipe and I have always loved it so I was proud to make it for my best friends. At the time, all indications were that everyone loved it as much as I did. Through Weston’s story, I discover that not only is it not the best mac-and-cheese recipe ever but no one really enjoyed it!
As you can imagine, I have just had my culinary heart ripped out in front of my new bride so I’m trying not to cry like a little girl. I laughed it off with the rest of the crowd but inside I died a little that day and I have been waiting for a way to get back at Weston ever since…
So Weston, this posting is for you. We have gone gourmet and I dare say that THIS is the tastiest mac-and-cheese that I have ever eaten. How can you argue with a recipe that has 3-year aged cheddar, truffle oil, and prosciutto!? That’s right, you can’t.
This is a rich and hearty wine with hints of cherry, mocha, blackberry and spice. The bold zest of the wine complemented the savory creaminess of the mac and cheese perfectly…I highly recommend this combo! It always amazes me how the right wine can intensify the flavors of a dish and make a perfect meal (such as our mac and cheese) even more…um…perfecter?
This Saison has recently become one of my favorite beers after one of our local restaurants put it on tap. Brewed in the Belgian style, it is fizzy to the tongue with complex flavoring, a hint of spiciness, and an alcoholic content of 7.7%. These crisp and complex flavors helped to wash down the strong flavors of the sharp cheddar and truffles in our gourmet mac-and-cheese. Perfect to drink away your sorrows after being stabbed in the back by your best man or rejoicing in your revenge.
1 lb. small dry pasta shells
1 egg, beaten
3 tbs. butter
1 tbs. truffle oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole or 2% percent milk
4 oz. Gruyere cheese
12 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
3 oz. prosciutto, sliced into small strips
3 oz. whole button mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped scallions (or to taste)
4-5 slices good quality white bread, ground into crumbs in a food processor
Cook the shells in salted water until very firm and then drain. (The shells should be too firm to eat right out of the pot and not completely cooked.) Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and butter a large rectangular baking dish or approximately 8 ramekins.
In a small bowl beat the egg and then in a large pot melt the butter and add 2 cloves of the crushed garlic. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring constantly. Sprinkle the flour into the butter and whisk constantly over medium-low heat for 5 minutes making sure that the mixture doesn’t burn. Pour in the milk and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until very thick continuing to whisk. Reduce the heat to low.
To temper the egg, slowly pour 1/4 cup of the sauce into the beaten egg and whisk to avoid cooking the egg. Mix until smooth and then pour the egg mixture into the sauce. Add in all but 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir until melted and add the seasonings. Add salt to taste.
Pour the cooked, drained shells into the cheese mixture along with the the prosciutto, mushrooms, and scallions and stir to combine. Pour your newly created mac-and-cheese into baking dish or ramekins and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Add remaining 1 clove of crushed garlic to the bread crumbs and season with salt, pepper and scallions then top the mac-and-cheese with the seasoned bread crumbs and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden on top. Then, rejoice in your tasty victory.