The best baked Truffle Mac and Cheese with Smoked Gouda is a gourmet side dish or entree that’s creamy and full of flavor! Simply decadent and delicious, the truffle oil elevates this humble pasta and cheese dish to another level. Surprisingly easy to make, it’s also a recipe that’s perfect to make ahead of time.
I was introduced to this truffle mac and cheese several years ago at a restaurant called Zest, that no longer exists. It was noteworthy. In fact, even Chris, the non-pasta lover, loved it. It has been on our menu rotation ever since, especially in winter. In fact, it’s even made an appearance here before, but let’s not go back & look at those photos, alright?
It’s one of my favorite make ahead dishes. It’s a great as an entree or a side and I have served it more than once at Thanksgiving. You can prepare the dish a day in advance or earlier in the day and bake it just before serving for convenience. Yet another reason this is in our dinner rotation. I love preparing dinner during nap time!
Truffle Mac and Cheese Ingredients
- Pasta – Use your favorite pasta variety for this recipe (more on that below). I like the fun and interesting bell flower shape of Campanelle.
- Butter – The base of the best baked mac and cheese recipes.
- Garlic – Use fresh garlic for a great base flavor.
- Shallot – Adds a delicate, mild onion flavor that takes this mac and cheese recipe to the next level.
- Ham – Thick sliced ham adds a nice meatiness to the dish. Ask the deli counter to slice the ham about 1/2 inch thick. This makes it much easier to cut into cubes.
- Heavy Cream – For the creamiest and most decadent mac and cheese recipe.
- White Pepper – Slightly more mild in flavor than black pepper, it allows for a perfectly white cream sauce. If you don’t have white pepper, simply omit it or add a few cracks fresh black pepper. No one will notice those small little black specks.
- White Truffle Oil – The truffle oil adds a wonderful earthiness to the finished mac and cheese. I prefer the delicate flavor of white truffle oil over black. Quality truffle oils, especially those from Italy, can be quite expensive, but trust me when I say, they will last you a long time as a little goes a long way. Store the truffle oil in a cool, dark place to ensure it stays fresh for longer.
- Gouda – Preferably smoked Gouda, if you can find it. This gives the mac and cheese a subtle smokiness that is just divine.
- Peas – What better way to sneak in some greens than by adding them to your favorite mac and cheese? Although not shown in the photos, the pop of green color makes it a beauty for the eyes, too!
- White Cheddar – The finishing touch. Buy a whole block and either slice it or shred it at home.
What’s The Best Kind Of Pasta To Use In Truffle Mac and Cheese?
Elbow macaroni is the traditional, and rather obvious choice of pasta for this dish, but don’t feel that’s all you can use! Try your favorite variety! I would avoid spaghetti or linguini, but shells or campanelle work beautifully. You want a pasta shape that catches and keeps all of that cheesy goodness!
What Does Truffle Oil Taste Like?
Truffle oil adds a wonderful depth of flavor to this classic pasta dish. Truffle oil has an earthy and nutty quality to it that works so well with the sharp cheddar. Be sure to have a look at my truffle aioli and truffle fries for more ways to use this gourmet ingredient!
How To Make Truffle Mac and Cheese with Smoked Gouda
It’s so easy to make this restaurant style mac and cheese with truffle oil in your home kitchen.
- Preheat oven to 375. Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare pasta aldente.
- In an oven-safe dutch oven over medium low heat, saute butter, garlic, shallots and ham.
- Add cream and bring to a boil.
- Whisk in truffle oil, salt, pepper and Gouda.
- Strain pasta and stir into sauce with peas.
- Sprinkle or layer with cheddar and bake 10 minutes.
What Do You Serve With Truffle Mac and Cheese?
This baked mac and cheese recipe is perfect to serve on it’s own, or as a side alongside these other recipes:
The Best Baked Mac and Cheese Can Be Made Ahead
Yes, feel free to make the smoked mac and cheese ahead of time by cooking everything on the stove top and then refrigerating it for up to 48 hours. All you have to do is pop it in the oven before you are ready to serve. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
Tips To Make the Best Truffle Mac and Cheese
- To keep the grocery costs to a minimum, I get the ham and smoked Gouda from the deli counter so I only purchase what I need.
- A Staub dutch oven is the perfect cooking vessel for this baked mac and cheese recipe so that it can go from stove top to oven without any extra dishes. If you don’t own a dutch oven, simply transfer the pasta and cheese dish from pot to baking dish to get that ultra cheesy baked topping!
- If you are making the mac and cheese ahead of time and refrigerating before baking, add a touch of cream and increase baking time to 20 minutes to heat all the way through.
More Pasta Dishes You’ll Love:
- Pasta Con Broccoli
- Creamy Chicken Pasta with Cajun Sauce
- Cherry Tomato Pasta
- Pasta Aglio e Olio
- Arugula Pasta
- Creamy Fontina Pasta
- Homemade Lasagna
- Homemade Ravioli with Pear & Pecorino
- Pasta Carbonara for Brunch, Lunch or Dinner!
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Truffle Mac and Cheese
The best baked Truffle Mac and Cheese with Smoked Gouda is a gourmet side dish or entree that's creamy and full of flavor! Simply decadent and delicious, the truffle oil elevates this humble pasta and cheese dish to another level. Surprisingly easy to make, it's also a recipe that's perfect to make ahead of time.
- 10 oz. pasta
- 1 Tbsp butter
- ½ small shallot
- ½ clove of garlic
- 1 thick slice of ham cubed (about 1/3 lb)
- 1 c heavy cream
- ½ tsp white truffle oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- ¼ lb gouda shredded
- ½ cup peas drained - not shown
- ½ cup shredded/sliced white cheddar
Preheat oven to 375. Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare pasta al dente.
Saute butter, shallots, garlic and ham over medium-low heat.
Add cream and bring to a boil.
Whisk in truffle oil, salt, pepper and gouda.
Strain pasta and stir into sauce with peas.
Add cheddar and bake 10 minutes.
Use a high quality White Truffle Oil, preferably one imported from Italy.