I have a New Year tradition. A bottle of champagne and truffles. I have both every year—I think it brings good fortune to have fortunate food on the first of the year. This year, it will be a bottle of rosé and this truffled macaroni gratin. How could that not herald great things?
I start this off, like all great mac and cheeses, with a roux: but this roux begins with truffle butter. Once it is smooth and rich and dappled with bits of black truffle as eggnog is with cinnamon, I add in the cheddar, Gruyère, and the brie, and the rigatoni. I rub fresh baguette crumbs with truffle butter and bake them over the top. Drizzle with black truffle oil, and serve bubbling. It is a cauldron of happiness full of spells to enchant the new year.
- 3 tablespoons black truffle butter, plus 1 tablespoon, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 3 ounces grated Gruyère
- 3 ounces grated sharp white cheddar
- 1/4 pound mild brie, rind removed
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup baguette crumbs
- Black truffle oil, for drizzling
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cook the rigatoni in salted boiling water until just shy of al dente. It will continue to soften in the oven, so the last thing you want is soggy over-cooked pasta.
Mix the cooked, drained rigatoni with the cheese sauce in a large bowl. Add the heavy cream, and toss. Divide into 4 buttered individual gratin dishes (you could also use a large baking dish). Use your fingers to rub the remaining tablespoon of truffle butter into the bread crumbs and the reserved cheese. Divide the topping evenly over the 4 gratin dishes.
Place the dishes on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, until the béchamel is bubbling, and the crumbs are golden. Drizzle with a touch of black truffle oil, and serve super hot.