Mini Macaroni and Cheese alla Italiana

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Mini Macaroni and Cheese alla Italiana

Makes 6 Ramekins (4 ½ inch variety)

 

I heard this recipe on NPR—it’s that of the beautiful Nigella Lawson-and I thought that it would go beautifully as part of one of my catered dinners. So, thanks go to NPR and Nigella. Everyone loved this dish as I also did.  And I think you also will. It’s a delicious twist on our ole’ Mac & Cheese.

 

Ingredients:

  1. Butter spray for the ramekins
  2. 1 C. grated Gruyere
  3. 1 Tblsp. cornstarch
  4. 4 oz. fresh mozzarella (not buffalo) chopped
  5. 8 ounces pennette, or chifferi or elbow macaroni (I found some small pasta made by De Cecco—but Barillo also makes some)
  6. Salt for the pasta water
  7. 1/4 C. white vermouth or wine
  8. 1 ¼ C. chicken broth
  9. 1/4 C. mascarpone

10. 1 Tsp. truffle butter/paste or a few drops truffle oil (very expensive so actually I ground up some fresh mushrooms and along with a dash of Worcestershire sauce, mixed these ingredients with some soft butter and used that. It seemed to work).

11. 3 Tblsp. grated Parmesan

12. Ground white pepper or black is OK too

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray butter the ramekins.
  3. Toss the grated Gruyere with the cornstarch in a bowl.
  4. Boil the pasta according to the package directions, however, cut the cooking time by several minutes—so that the pasta is very al dente but still eatable. I watched it very carefully. Drain it and keep it in your colander for later.
  5. In a very large pan that will eventually hold the pasta in it, heat the vermouth to a boil and then add the chicken broth.  Let it come to a boil again and take it off the burner and whisk in the cornstarch-tossed Gruyere.  This mixture will melt into a mass of gooey cheese strings.  Add the Mascarpone and whisk again. Then add the truffle oil/butter stirring it in the sauce. Lastly add the pasta and the chopped mozzarella.  Stir once again to make sure everything is well mixed.
  6. Ladle the cheesy pasta into the sprayed ramekins trying to get an even amount of pasta and sauce in each. (The sauce will seem very liquid but don’t worry; the pasta will suck it up in the oven. Sprinkle the Parmesan on the top and then with pepper.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes in the hot oven.  Let stand 5 minutes before eating.  (I filled the ramekins with the pasta, etc. but left most of the liquid out because I was not going to serve them right away. I saved the liquid in a separate container. Several hours later, when I was ready to bake the ramekins, I put in my saved liquid in each ramekin and then baked them.  They turned out just fine.)
  8. Lastly, Nigella says that you can broil these ramekins as well but I thought that baking them would be better.
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About TempInnKeeper

Margot loves people and is very energetic and organized. She is also a quick study. Her background includes having renovated, owned and operated an 1887 Victorian bed and breakfast in Paso Robles, CA for 5 years. Her guests loved her and she loved her guests. What a perfect combination. Margot’s marketing skills and love of people also was used in her career as a Realtor and in participating in many charitable non-profit organizations. Margot loves to cook and to offer concierge services to people. She was born in Geneva, Switzerland.; has lived all over CA. including Beverly Hills, in the Silicon Valley area, Paso Robles, the San Joaquin Valley as well as in Sun Valley, ID. She has traveled extensively throughout the world; is a CAL alumni (go Bears!); and also speaks French fluently and Spanish semi-fluently. Her interests are people, cooking, arts, books (look at the blog book club and join if you wish), travel, sports, gardening, painting, music, playing classical piano and animals. Margot Van Horn 208-721-3551 PO Box 3788, Ketchum, ID. margot6@mindspring.com TempInnKeeper@mindspring.com

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