Thanksgiving is almost here and I’m planning my side dishes. This is one of my personal favorites, and I should warn you, it’s one of those sides that just might upstage your turkey!
We’ve all heard the expression that “things happen in threes.” The trinity. The triad. The triangle. The Britney Spears’ song that goes “1, 2, 3″ – you get where I’m going with this. Well for me, my magic triple combination happens to be Macaroni & Cheese, Truffles and Langostinos.
To break it down, let’s start with the basic Macaroni & Cheese.
It comes in a box with elbow macaroni that you boil in hot water for 7 and a half minutes exactly. Then you drain and add a bunch of butter, a splash of milk and some bright orange powder to it to make it oh so cheesy… right? WRONG!!!!!
This macaroni and cheese – even if it’s made without the langostinos or truffle oil – packs some serious flavor! The combination of cheeses, along with the cream and butter – let’s just say it’s the mac daddy of all mac and cheese recipes!
Then there’s the truffle oil. The aroma alone just makes me do a happy dance. It adds another dimension that I can’t even explain… you’d have to try it. It’s a relatively inexpensive way of adding actual truffles, which can cost so much, and it’s totally worth the initial investment because you generally only use a small amount each time you cook with it.
Finally, langostinos. You might be wondering, what is a langostino? Well, it’s debateable. Some will say they’re a part of the crustacean family (crab and shrimps) and others say they’re like mini-lobsters. I’m going to go with the latter, because that’s what they taste like to me. Delicious little lobsters with a buttery delicate flavor – at half the price!
So there you have it. My food trinity. My 1,2, 3…. and oh what a three they are.
Langostino Truffle Macaroni & Cheese
- 1 pound of langostino tails (you can find them in the frozen seafood section, if you can’t find them fresh).
- 1 pound cavatappi pasta or elbow macaroni
- 3/4 stick of butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup gruyere, shredded (if you can find chipotle gruyere, even better!)
- 1/2 cup fontina cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup smoked gruyere, shredded
- 1/2 cup cheddar/jack shredded
- 1-2 tbs. truffle oil (a little goes a long way!)
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup of plain bread crumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a Pyrex dish with non-stick spray. Add all of the cheese to a separate bowl and combine thoroughly. Cook pasta according to directions on the box.
In a sauté pan, add cream, truffle oil, milk and butter and bring to a low boil. Once butter is completely melted, add the langostinos. Allow to simmer for about 5 to 6 minutes.
Once pasta is fully cooked, begin assembly. Put a layer of pasta on the bottom of the Pyrex dish. Follow with a layer of the cheeses, breadcrumbs and 1/2 of the langostino and cream sauce mixture. Repeat same step again- only this time putting a final layer of cheese and breadcrumbs on top of the langostinos to make a crispy crust on the top.
Place in the oven covered for 35 to 45 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb some of the sauce. Remove foil and allow to cook for another 10 minutes to turn to a golden brown on top.
- This recipe can also be done with lobster tails in place of langostinos
- Get creative with the cheeses! I use a chipotle gruyere to add a little smoky heat to the dish… you can use a jalepeno jack or any sort of cheese with a spice to it to add some flavor.
- A dash of mustard powder is great in this dish too if you like that flavor… it’ll make your guests say, “ I know that taste, what’s in there?”
- This dish freezes extremely well. If you don’t finish it all, put the leftovers into smaller containers and just pull it out of the freezer any night of the week as a great side.