Gourmet

Asiago Mac and Cheese Pie

If you like your Mac and Cheese with a gourmet twist, look no further. This “pie” is dense with penne pasta, creamy Wisconsin asiago cheese and Tuscan kale. The potato crust that is scented with truffle oil. It's a variation on timballo di maccheroni, a traditional drum-shaped baked pasta dish from Naples and the surrounding Campania region of Italy.

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Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons white truffle oil
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts, minced
  •   Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin asiago cheese, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated preferred
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cups kale, Tuscan preferred
  • 4 ounces prosciutto
  • 12 sage leaves, minced
  • 1/4 cup Wisconsin parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

Cook penne according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside to cool.

Heat oven to 375°F. Bake potatoes until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly, then peel potatoes with your hands. Peels should come off easily. Discard skins. Push potatoes through ricer into medium-sized bowl. Or, mash with potato masher. Stir in butter, truffle oil and scallions until well mixed. Season with pinch each of salt and pepper. Using fingers, press potato mixture evenly across bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake until lightly browned on edges, about 25 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

Bring half-and-half to boil in medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in red pepper flakes. Let mixture cool slightly, then briskly whisk in eggs, egg yolks, asiago and nutmeg. Season with more salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in large skillet set over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and set aside. Stir cooked penne, asiago mixture, kale mixture, prosciutto, and sage into large bowl until well combined. Scrape mixture over the potato crust and spread evenly. Top with parmesan and bake until well-browned on tips of penne, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on rack before releasing springform pan. Slice into wedges and serve warm with additional parmesan passed at table.

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If you are making a béchamel sauce (butter + flour + milk) for the macaroni, add the milk very slowly, whisking constantly, for the perfect consistency.