||1/4 cup Olevano Truffle-Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 small/medium onion, diced
1/4 cup of liquid (use water, or add a pilsner, lager or ale beer for extra flavor)
1 tsp salt (less if you use optional ham add-in)
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped (similar size to macaroni noodles, or larger, to taste)
2 cups dry elbow macaroni
2 cups milk (whole or skim)
2 cups water
1 slice American cheese
2 cups of shredded cheese (any kind or combination, but make at least a half cup of it cheddar)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (plain or panko)
OPTIONAL INGREDIENT: 1/4 lb diced ham
Cast iron or any oven-safe skillet recommended. If you don't have an oven-safe skillet, cook this in your favorite pot or pan and transfer to a casserole dish before adding the bread crumbs.
1. Pour half (2 TBS) of the Truffle EVOO into a cold pan, add garlic, heat on medium-high, and saute until garlic aroma is released. (Approximately 45 seconds. Don't let it turn brown!)
2. Reduce heat to medium, add diced onion and cook until onion is translucent or slightly golden (approximately 4 minutes)
3. Add 1/4 cup of chosen liquid, salt, pepper and mustard powder, then cauliflower, and cook for up to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add pasta, milk, water (and ham -- optional), stir immediately and frequently. Cook for one minute less than package directions. (Most packages say 9-11 minutes, therefore, cook for 8 minutes. Thicker macaronis may take longer.)
6. While pasta is cooking, pour remaining (2 TBS) Truffle evoo over the bread crumbs in a bowl and stir, then preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Taste pasta -- should be very firm, not quite al dente, slightly undercooked but not hard. Will continue to cook throughout the rest of the process. Some liquid will remain in pan.
8. Add American cheese, then shredded cheese, stirring until well blended with dish.
9. Smooth out the top of the mac-and-cheese, then sprinkle truffled bread crumb mixture on top. Bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly golden.
SERVING: Serve hot. Makes a great pot-luck item, side dish, or even a main dish if you include the ham. Can be prepared a day in advance, saving the baking step for the next day.
SUBSTITUTIONS: If you like your cauliflower to have more bite, add it halfway through the pasta-cooking process, but note it will likely make your pasta cooking time longer, so you'll want to taste as you go. Carrots, peas, butternut squash or other vegetables could be added to increase the nutritional value.
We made a gluten free version by dividing the ingredients after step 3, using 1 cup of g-free penne and replacing bread crumbs (although g-free bread crumbs should work) with more cheese. However, the same measurement of penne resulted in an excess of sauce, so we added more cooked penne before baking.