When I first spied this recipe on Fuss Free Cooking‘s site, I screamed. When I devoured a bowl of truffle-infused cheesy elbow pasta at a dinner party last week, I howled. So believe me when I say that I’ve been counting the days, hours, minutes until I could fix the most comforting of dishes. Until I could find yet another way to sneak kale into a dish.
There are so many things right with this dish — where does one begin? First off, I went simple with the cheese because I wanted the star of the macaroni and cheese to be the truffle oil. An oil that coats the kale leaves, rendering them slick and glossy. An aromatic that gives the pasta an intense flavor and delightful aroma. You’ll love the biting bitter of the kale juxtaposed with the creamy noodles. And since I love, love, love texture plays I truly felt that the panko makes this dish SING.
So forget the boxed mac and cheese — you can make this yummy version in under a 1/2 hour. AND THERE’S KALE!
INGREDIENTS: Recipe adapted from my newfound foodie obsession, Fuss Free Cooking, with modifications.
8 ounces (1/2 pound) of shell macaroni
1/4 (4 tbsp) cup butter
1/4 cup unbleached flour (about 60g/2 ounces)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
1 tbsp black truffle oil
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (8oz)
About 8 stalks of kale, finely shredded
1/2 cup toasted Panko/normal breadcrumbs
Chop kale until it’s in bite-sized pieces and set aside. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a bowl. As Nigella Lawson once said, your pasta water should be as briny as the Mediterranean, and this recipe is no exception. Cook the pasta until it’s slightly al dente, drain, and set aside in a large bowl.
In the pot you used to cook the pasta, heat the truffle oil and cook the kale until slightly wilted. Make sure all of the leaves are coated. Toss the hot kale with the pasta in the large bowl. In the same pot (AREN’T YOU DYING OVER THE FACT THAT YOU ARE NOT WASHING 1.5 MILLION POTS??!), you are now ready to make your rue. Melt butter over medium heat and stir in the flour, salt and pepper for 1 minute, ensuring that all of the ingredients are incorporated and no flour remains in the pot. Slowly add the milk, whisking as you go. It’s important that you whisk like a madwoman as to prevent the dreaded LUMP SITUATION. Once the sauce slightly thickens, add the cheese and whisk vigorously until all of the cheese is cooked and you’re left with an unctuous sauce.
Now for the moment of truth. Add the pasta and kale to the sauce and stir until all of the leaves and noodles are completely coated. Toss in the panko and serve pipping hot!