Top Chef Dave Martin finds a winning combination with Hillside Select and High-end Mac ‘n Cheese
We first met Chef Martin on season one of Bravo’s hit show Top Chef. The next-to-last episode that year called “Napa’s Finest,” featured a challenge of pairing a black truffle dish with Hillside Select.
Chef Martin’s innovative and creative dish, Black Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese, won the day, giving him the chance to compete in the Top Chef Finale in Las Vegas.
“When I tasted Hillside Select on Top Chef,” says Martin, “what stood out was a real hint of dark chocolate, but in a savory sense, along with blackberries – and it was so smooth going down. I knew that I wanted flavors and textures that would stand up to the wine while assuring that the earthy essence of the truffle came through.”
Dave’s Famous Black Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese
Servings: 12-15 (10 oz ramekins)
2 Tbsp EVO
1 cup shallots (minced)
24 cloves of fire roasted garlic
8 cups (64 oz) of heavy cream
3 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped and cleaned from stems
3 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped and cleaned from stems
½ cup sherry wine
½ cup brandy
6 Tbsp black truffle shavings and liquid from the can
2 cups of good Parmesan
½ cup white truffle oil
2 tsp Tabasco
2 eggs (liasion slowly in separate container with hot liquid from stovetop and do not curdle or cook eggs then add back to the stovetop mixture)
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper
3 cups grated Fontina cheese (fine grate not large)
3 -4 cups seasoned bread crumbs
2 lbs cooked and drained Gemelli noodles (be sure to cook in salted water)
In a stock pot or deep pan, caramelize shallots with fresh herbs and then add roasted garlic and deglaze with sherry and brandy then let truffles infuse and then add the cream, Tabasco, Parmesan, Truffle oil and let the mixture cook down on stovetop for about 30 minutes until the cream is reduced and thickened. During this process, you will add the egg liaison after the mixture has heated through. Then continue cooking until the mixture coats the back of a spoon and then remove from heat.
Drain cooked pasta from stovetop and then mix in fontina and parmesan along with the reduced cream/truffle mixture and then top place into ramekins and them top them off with seasoned bread crumbs/ parmesan mixture and bake at 350-400 degrees until heated all the way through and serve.
*liaison — adding the hot liquid slowly to the eggs to avoid cooking them and then once they are tempered with the hot liquid add them to the pot
Copyright © 2007 by Dave Martin
Learn more of Chef David Martin’s secrets in his latest book, Flavor Quest, and at his website: chefdavemartin.com.