When Anthonij Rupert Wyne sent me one of their locally grown Perigord truffles, I knew immediately I would make a truffle mac and cheese. Having been truffle hunting on their Altima Estate three years ago, I knew what I was in for. This beautiful property high up on a mountain near Villiersdorp has the perfect cool climate conditions to cultivate these rare delicacies
The earthy rich flavour of a black truffle elevates mac and cheese to a dinner party-worthy dish. This is my ultimate version. It’s super indulgent and worth every calorie.
In April we dined at the Loch & Tyne near Windsor, Adam Handlings one Michelin-starred gastro pub. We ate a life-changing mac and cheese. I’ve seen a few food writers refer to it as the best mac and cheese in existence, and I couldn’t agree with them more. I wanted to capture the essence of this.
What goes into this truffle mac and cheese is a silky cheese sauce made from a bechamel base. I covered the finished dish in a Parmesan cream infused with bay and thyme to take it to another level. I don’t have a whipped cream dispenser as they used at the restaurant (most of you won’t have either), so I just poured it over the top allowing it to seep in.
The mac and cheese bakes until golden and crunchy then finished off with a shower of finely grated Black Perigord truffle. This is my best truffle mac and cheese recipe.
How to enhance this truffle mac and cheese:
- Infusing a bay leaf and thyme into the warmed milk that goes into the bechamel will add a subtle flavour enhancement. I do it in the Parmesan cream sauce too.
- If you want a more pronounced truffle flavour, I recommend using truffle butter to make the bechamel. This is also available at Anthonij Rupert Wyne deli and can be stored in the freezer to extend the shelf life.
- As this is a special-occasion dish I recommend using the best cheese you can. It will make all the difference. Parmigiano Reggiano is used here and if you can afford it make it as old as possible (30 months matured). Otherwise, a younger parm will also work well.
- The second cheese I used was Dalewood Fromage Huguenot. It is a local cheese from Franschhoek with a lovely nutty flavour and incredible melty texture. Use Swiss Gruyere if you are not from South Africa.
What to do with your left-over truffle:
If by some chance you haven’t finished your truffle in the dish you are making, you should use it within a week. Sadly, truffles don’t have a very long shelf life. A little goes a long way, so here are a few ideas:
- Grate it into butter and make your own truffle butter. Make it as strong as you like. This butter can be frozen to preserve it even longer.
- Shave or grate it over scrambled eggs.
- Add it to any mushroom dish (even mushrooms on toast).
- Shave it over a simple pasta or even the Anthonij Ruper truffle pasta. See Ilse’s recipe here.
- Top a simple Parmesan risotto with it
The taste of fresh black truffle is earthy and reminiscent of mushrooms. It is not at all like truffle oil which is often overly pungent and not made from truffle at all.
SHOP BLACK TRUFFLE: You can buy fresh truffles for the remainder of the season (end of July) directly from Gidi Caetano: email: [email protected] (or the tasting room at 021-874 9041) at R20/gram, minimum of 30g per order. The truffles are beautifully packaged in a wooden box and they deliver to Cape Town and its surrounds.
Visit the Anthonij Rupert Wyne Estate deli and purchase any of their truffle-infused products.
How to store black truffle:
Wrap the truffle in paper and store it in a sealed glass container. The aroma is very strong so will permeate your fridge if it’s not sealed in an air-tight container. Use within 4 – 5 days if possible.
This truffle mac and cheese pairs beautifully with The Cape of Good Home Serruria Chardonnay from Altima Estate.
The recipe serves 2 generously
Truffle mac and cheese
The most delicious and indulgent truffle mac and cheese recipe fit for a dinner party.
- Prep Time: 15-20
- Cook Time: 40
- Total Time: 39 minute
- Yield: 2 - 3
- Category: Dinner
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: American
400ml milk (infused with a few sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf)
200ml cream (infused with a few sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf)
100gms Parmesan cheese (the older the better) freshly grated and divided
30gms butter (use truffle butter to make it extra intense)
Pinch of nutmeg
100gms (+ extra for sprinkling) Gruyere or Dalewood Fromage Hugeonot cheese
2 Tbsp Dijon
2 free-range egg yolks
Black truffle – finely grated to finish.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease one or two casserole dishes.
Put the milk in a small pot and heat gently with the thyme and bay leaf. Allow the flavour to steep and infuse for a few minutes (make sure this does not boil).
Put the cream into another pot with thyme and aby leaf and heat. Once hot, add half the parmesan and stir to combine. Keep warm or take off the heat and allow it to infuse (you can reheat it just before pouring over the mac and cheese).
Make the roux for the bechamel in a third small pot by melting the butter. Add the flour and stir until you have a thick paste. Slowly add the warmed milk to the pot ladle by ladle at a time. Strain the thyme leaves and bay out if necessary. Stir or whisk vigorously until you have a smooth sauce and the flour has cooked out (ie it stops getting thicker). If necessary add a splash more milk.
Add the mustard to the bechamel along with the remainder of the Parmesan and all the Gruyere or Hugeonot. Stir until this is melted through. Take the sauce off the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Once cooled, add the egg yolks and whisk to incorporate.
Cook your pasta until al dente in a large pot of salted water, and drain.
In a large bowl add the drained pasta and the cheese sauce and mix to combine. Decant that into the casserole / oven-proof baking dish.
Sprinkle a little extra cheese over the top and then pour the Parmesan cream over that. Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.
Grate the truffle over the. Mac and cheese using a micro plane and serve.
Keywords: mac and cheese, pasta, truffle, Parmesan, cheese, recipe
*This post is proudly sponsored by Anthonij Rupert Wyne
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