Baked Conchiglie with Roasted Garlic Cheese Sauce and White Truffle Oil

posted in: Main Dish, Pasta, Side Dish        date:

Macaroni and cheese is a big deal, something I realized after seeing all sorts of recipes for it on the food blogs I follow.  Growing up, I mostly had it out of a box.  Every now and then, though, I was lucky enough to have my grandmother’s baked macaroni and cheese.  From a young age, I much preferred the baked version.  As I found out during Thanksgiving last year, my niece will only eat the creamy kind.  In fact, she just recently started eating something other than the shell shaped variety because, before then, she didn’t like “the kind with two holes.”  It seems most people I know, children and adults alike, have specific preferences when it comes to macaroni and cheese – anything from the type of pasta or cheese, creamy versus baked, with or without add-ins.  Whatever your macaroni and cheese preferences, I think we can all agree that it is one of the ultimate comfort foods.

This recipe, despite its incredibly long title, is just a modern take on a classic dish.  It is not difficult to make, but the results are outstanding.  The roasted garlic lends a sweet, subtle flavor to the sauce, while the white truffle oil gives this dish a very earthy and robust flavor.  I thought the flavor of the garlic got a little lost once we added the truffle oil, so I’ve increased the amount of garlic and slightly decreased the amount of truffle oil.  Eric and I are garlic lovers, though, so you can definitely stick to one head if you think two is too much for you (or if you have a large head of garlic).  This is definitely not my grandma’s mac and cheese!

Baked Conchiglie with Roasted Garlic Cheese Sauce and White Truffle Oil
2 heads garlic
Olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for the baking dish
1 pound congiglie (medium shells)
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup (1/4 pound) grated mozzarella or fontina cheese
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons white truffle oil

-Preheat the oven to 300º.  Cut off the bud end of garlic, exposing each clove.  Rub with olive oil, wrap each head loosely in foil, place on baking sheet and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Allow to cool, then peel or squeeze out the softened garlic and mash.
-Increase the oven temperature to 375º.  Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
-Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 13 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
-In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a scald.
-In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
-Reduce heat to low and whisk in flour.  Continue whisking about 2 minutes.
-Gradually whisk in milk.  Once the milk is added, increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly.
-Whisk in the roasted garlic and mozzarella until blended.  Remove from heat.
-Add cooked pasta and ricotta to the roasted garlic cheese sauce and stir to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
-Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and drizzle with white truffle oil.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8

Adapted from a Bobby Flay recipe seen in Macaroni and Cheese: 52 Recipes from Simple to Sublime by Joan Schwaartz

  • Annie

    Um, roasted garlic AND white truffle oil? I'm so there.

  • Courtney Champion

    Annie, that was pretty much the exact thought I had the second before I decided to make this recipe.

  • themilkmanswife

    Now THIS is grown up mac and cheese! YUM! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Pie Scientista

    This looks like a really interesting recipe. I am definitely gonna add it to my "To try" list.

    As a mac and cheese lover myself, I've found many of grow into appreciating all kinds of mac and cheese, and it is really about what mood your in. Sometimes I want it out of the box, sometimes I want it baked, sometimes I want one of the newer fancy versions.

    But you are right, it is definitely a comfort food and whenever I indulge in any kind, not many foods are as satisfying as really good mac and cheese recipe.