Macaroni and Cheese is incontestably the most comforting of comfort foods.  A scrumptious blend of nutty gruyere, intense cheddar, and intoxicating roquefort, with the additions of truffle oil and pancetta turn this classic dish into a sophisticated entrée.  It is rumored that Thomas Jefferson famously served macaroni and cheese at all of his dinner parties.  And, if it’s good enough for the president, it’s good enough for T+T!

I would like to tell you that this dish is a cinch to whip up, however, I found out the hard way that this is certainly not the case for everyone…  The truffle mac and cheese was the last dish that I needed to prepare for an elaborate dinner party – and as I am perpetually running thirty minutes late in the kitchen, panic began to set in.  I begged one of my guests, Katherine, to be my sous-chef so that dinner would be served on time.  

Her first task was to slice the butter, which she performed flawlessly.  Her second task had a less idyllic outcome.   I asked Katherine to “put the whole box of pasta in.”  She obeyed, and dumped the campanelle into a small saucepan of cold milk (intended for my béchamel sauce), rather than the large pot of boiling water.  I was utterly astounded.  I knew that several of my girlfriends were culinarily-challenged, but never did I imagine that boiling pasta was one of those challenges.  Moreover, Katherine was not alone!  While recounting the humorous tale at dinner, my friend Cameron declared that she would have done the exact same thing – adding pasta to milk is how you microwave Easy Mac, after all.

Luckily, the truffle mac and cheese turned out perfectly – despite the near catastrophe. And if there is one deciding factor that encouraged me to write this blog, it is without a doubt Katherine and her milky macaroni.  xx tt

Recipe – adapted from Barefoot Contessa (serves 10)


· 1 tablespoon kosher salt

· 1 tablespoon pepper

· 1 Tablespoon olive oil

· 8 ounces diced pancetta

· 1 pound Campanelle pasta

· 1 quart whole milk

· 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons) cut into five slices

· ½ cup flour

· 16 ounces gruyere grated

· 16 ounces extra-sharp cheddar grated

· 4 ounces blue cheese

· 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

· 6 slices white bread – no crusts

· 5 fresh basil leaves chopped

· 1 tablespoon white truffle oil


· Heat oven to 400 degrees

· Bake the pancetta and a little olive oil in the oven on a baking sheet for fifteen minutes

· Transfer the pancetta to a plate, and dice when cool

· Drizzle olive oil into a large pot of boiling water

· Add the campanelle (to the water, NOT the milk) and cook according to the directions on the package

· Put the campanelle into a colander, and rinse with cold water – then set aside

· Heat the milk in a medium saucepan - but do not boil it

· Melt the butter in a large pot and add the flour

· Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk

· While whisking, add the milk and cook for a few more minutes, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (this is a béchamel sauce)

· Off the heat, add gruyere, cheddar, blue cheese, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon pepper, and nutmeg

· Add the campanelle, diced pancetta, and truffle oil - stir well

· Pour into eight medium ramekins, or one large baking dish

· *If you do not have a food processor, substitute readymade bread crumbs

· Place the bread slices and chopped basil into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and blend until you have crumbs

· Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the mac and cheese

· *If you are using individual ramekins, place them on a baking sheet before putting in the oven

· Bake for 30 minutes