Friday, December 18, 2009

Mostaccioli e Formaggi con Tartufo

What better way is there to warm up during the cold winter months than a nice hearty Mac n' Cheese? Here is my version of this classic comfort food. This is quite the gourmet take on the dish making just about every component from scratch. The addition of the truffles is really gilding the lily, but who cares? It's my pasta dish. This is just a template, so feel free to omit the truffles and change up the cheeses to customize it to your own liking.

TT = to taste

For pasta:
3 1/2 cups Semolina Flour
5 Eggs, room temp
1T salt
3T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For Bechamel:
4 cups Whole Milk
4T Flour
4T Butter
TT Sea Salt
TT Black Pepper
1/2 cup Parrano Cheese, grated
1/2 cup Ossau Iraty Cheese, grated
1/2 cup Piave Vecchio Cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
4 sprigs fresh thyme

For Croutons:
1/2 Ciabatta loaf cut in to 1 inch chunks
4-6T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the Rest of the dish:
2 small summer truffles
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano

Make mostaccioli:
Combine all ingredients for pasta dough
work together and knead for 5 minutes
wrap in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes
once rested cut into 6 pieces
keep all pieces covered while working with one of the pieces so the others don't dry out
Roll through hand cranked pasta machine kneading ten times through thickest setting (#1)
once kneaded roll through thickest setting (#1) three times
then drop down two setting to (#3)
roll through three times
then drop down one more setting (#4)
roll through three times
Cut sheets into rectangles 1-1.5"x3"
place a pencil lengthwise down the center
dampen one side with a little water
roll over to form a tube & roll back and forth between table and hand to seal properly
Use a knife to cut the edges at an angle
place finished pasta shape on a floured parchment lined tray
Repeat process with remaining pasta dough
Bring 6qts of water to a boil
add 2-3T sea salt and drop pasta in batches
cook until pasta rises and cooks for another 30 seconds
pull pasta out and plunge into ice water to stop cooking
place cooked pasta in 9x13 baking dish

Make bechamel:
heat flour and butter in sauce pan and cook on med low heat for 5 minutes
add milk while whisking constantly
add thyme
cook until milk begins to thicken and becomes a sauce like consistency.
add in the cheese
taste for seasoning
season as necessary with salt and pepper
remove from heat and allow to cool

Make crouton:
Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat
add bread and saute until golden brown all over
season with a pinch of salt and pepper

Construct & finish the dish:
pour as much of the bechamel in with the pasta in the 9x13 pan as you need
save any pasta or sauce you don't use for a later time
toss together
take one of the truffles and shave in with the pasta and sauce
cover with the croutons
take butter and break apart with fingers on top of the croutons
scatter the remaining parmigiano reggiano over the top of the croutons
place casserole dish into pre-heated 350F oven and bake until golden brown and ooey gooey bubbly in the middle (20-30 minutes)
pull out of oven and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes
grate the remaining truffle over the top of the casserole
garnish with a bit more of the fresh thyme if you like
scoop out and serve immediately

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