Cheese and truffles. Enough said.
This recipe is a sophisticated version of classic macaroni and cheese. The leeks give just enough of that onion flavor, the truffles do what truffles do best, the bacon is always a welcome addition and the cheese is the tie that binds all of those wonderful flavors together.
This recipe is so wonderfully versatile; you can swap out the leeks and truffles for other ingredients such as peas. It’s also super versatile for serving; you can keep it family style like I did or you can split it up in individual gratin dishes for a more formal dinner. Above all, it tastes amazing.
Here’s the step by step.
Start by cooking your bacon lardons until crispy. Drain them on a paper towel.
Saute your leeks.
Make a little space for some butter and your sliced mushrooms. Cook until tender.
Add your flour to the pan and cook it down for a few minutes. Then add the cream and stir it in while scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan sort of like de-glazing just with cream.
Next, add the cheese and mustard.
Then the drained bacon needs to be added back into the cheese and cream mixture.
Drain the water out of the penne pasta. Add the cheese mixture to the pasta and stir in the truffle oil.
Add the entire mixture to your baking dish. Cook for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.
Yeah, I had some. It was kinda good.
I hope you get to make this soon. Enjoy!
Cheddar & Truffle Baked Penne Pasta
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 package of bacon, sliced
5 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 5 large)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 cups packed)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large portabella mushroom caps (or 6 small)
2 large eggs
1 pound penne pasta
3 tablespoons black truffle oil
Lightly butter 15x10x2-inch baking dish. Cook bacon until crispy. Remove and let drain on a paper towel. Empty remaining bacon fat from pan. Melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat. Cover saucepan and cook until leeks are tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes (do not brown). Create a space for the mushrooms and cook just till tender. Add flour. Stir 2 minutes. Add milk; bring to simmer, stirring often. Add cheese, mustard, and pepper sauce. Stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Season cheese sauce to taste with salt.
Whisk eggs in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 1 cup cheese sauce. Stir egg mixture into cheese sauce in saucepan.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return to pot.
Stir cheese sauce into pasta in pot and add two tablespoons of truffle oil to mixture. Transfer to prepared baking dish and drizzle remaining truffle oil on top of pasta.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake pasta until cheese sauce is bubbling around edges and some ends of pasta are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let stand 15 minutes. Serve hot.
DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.