Truffled Crawfish Mac & Cheese

For the New Year holiday my sweet Fireman and I dined out at a local hot spot, Brownstone, formerly inspired by chef Casey Thompson and her love for Southern cuisine.  The girl was amazing on Top Chef- which by the way, is among my all time favorite shows.  In fact, Season 3 was probably the best, to date.  Two all stars were in that season, Casey Thompson and Tre Wilcox- loved them both for the win. 

Much to my dismay a twerp of a chef won out over them. 

Back to Brownstone on NYE, shall we?  The food was awesome- and my desire for a spicy Bloody Mary turned into a complete obsession after having their Chipotle Bloody Mary.  Good grief, Holy Moly, amazing.  True TexMexian, right there. 

.. then it was time for dessert. 

As you know.. dessert doesn’t strike my fancy much.  I’m the one going for a second helping of mashed potatoes post dinner time rather than a slice of chocolate cake. 

So it only seemed fit to order a non-dessert after my chicken stuffed chicken meal. 

duh. 

My choc-o-holic of a husband was so sweet to oblige to my request for the Crawfish Mac. 

I told him we would share.  I lied. 

I knew this crazy creamy macaroni and cheese wasn’t so good for me, but it was so delicious- and you just have to do that sometimes. 

You have dessert twice a week?  I’ll have this, and we’ll call it good.  Good? 

After dining at Brownstone and sampling one of the best ‘desserts’ that has ever hit my tastebuds, I knew I needed to come home to recreate.  I came to find out that there was no way I was getting crawfish in my kitchen any time soon. 

They were way out of season. 

**sigh**

After doing a little reading on my own, I came to learn that peak season for these crawfish buddies was April and May.  They are the fattest at this time and best for eating. 

Lo and behold- about the second week in April I started to see advertisement for them everywhere. 

Finally- Crawfish Mac in my own kitchen! 

My version subs out the whole milk for skim. 

To save time and effort, I was able to (affordably) buy crawfish tails in the frozen seafood section of my grocery. 

I did splurge and used some white truffle oil- thus, Truffled Crawfish Mac & Cheese was born.  I’ve been using Panko a whole heck of a lot, lately..  but true macaroni and cheese  is baked, with a bit of crunch on top..

Just like that of  Brownstone- delicious, and definitely an indulgence.

But I’m confidant that I’ve found a healthier substitute for whenever I get the urge for that dessert. 

My Fireman was crazy impressed with this dish.  He LOVED it. 

Just for fun I wanted to share a few pictures of when I got to meet my two favorites back in April of 2009.  Top Chef went on tour and happened to come through Dallas- I was stoked! 

Literally front and center. 

After the cooking demo there was an opportunity to meet and greet.  I didn’t want to wait in the crazy line so I nearly clobbered the people in front of me in attempts to get in Tre’s path. 

It worked and I got a picture out of it. 

Pretty sure I stepped on that lady’s (in yellow)  purse and fingers as she attempted to move them out of my way.  Don’t let her ‘smile’ fool you.  She was really crying.

I’m a ruthless beast.  (insert sarcasm.)

Too bad my scheming didn’t get me to Ms. Thompson. One of these days..

..until then, I’ll be making my verision of her mac and cheese. I’m thinking I need to stock up on frozen crawfish, for future making.. say during the winter months?

Eeeeshh.  That sounded like something my grandmother would have said.  

The woman had canned goods everywhere.   

Truffled Crawfish Mac and Cheese

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups

Truffled Crawfish Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 ounces uncooked Tubetti, or other tube-shaped pasta
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) crawfish tail meat, fresh or frozen- thawed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (3-ounces) shredded Fontina cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2-ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 teaspoons white truffle oil
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat 2 cups milk, 1 chopped onion, and bay leaf in a large saucepan to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edges (do not boil). Cover and remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

While milk is resting, heat a large non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray over meduim-high heat. Add remaining chopped onion, cook, stirring frequently until golden. Add in crawfish tail meat and minced garlic. Cook, stirring consistently for about 4 minutes.

Strain milk mixture through a colander over a bowl; discard solids. Combine remaining 1/2 cup milk, salt, and flour in a small bowl or measuring cup, stirring with a fork until well blended. Gradually stir flour mixture into crawfish mixture, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; allow to cool and thicken slightly. Gradually add fontina and gruyere cheeses, stirring until cheeses melt. Stir in pasta and truffle oil. Spoon mixture into a 9x13 glass or ceramic baking dish.

Combine panko, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil; combine with a forkn until crumbs are moist. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over pasta. Place dish on middle rack in oven; bake 15-20 minutes or until top is golden brown and casserole is bubbly.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 440; Fat: 12 g; Carbohydrate: 55 g; Fiber: 2.1 g; Protein: 28 g; Sodium: 528 mg

http://chocolate-broccoli.com/2012/04/truffled-crawfish-mac-cheese.html

Comments

  1. Looks so decadent and amazing! –And I am jealous you met Casey. One of my favorite Top Chefers too!

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