Pine Nut Brittle:
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Cabot Unsalted Butter
½ cup raw pine nuts
1 pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup (lightly packed) mixed fresh herbs, such as Italian parsley, basil, tarragon, thyme, rosemary and/or carrot fronds
1 ounce Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, grated (about ¼ cup)
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3-4 tablespoons canola or olive oil
Macaroni and Cheese:
16 ounces campanelle dried pasta
3 tablespoons Cabot Unsalted Butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch hot red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons white truffle oil or white flavored truffle oil (used olive oil)
¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 pinch ground white pepper
Fresh Italian parsley, carrot fronds, pea shoots and/or radish sprouts
To make brittle:
PLACE nonstick baking sheet or baking sheet lined with silicone pad or waxed paper on wire rack next to stovetop.
PLACE clean sauté pan over medium-high heat for about two minutes or until hot; distribute sugar evenly over bottom of pan. Let sugar melt, shaking pan to redistribute unmelted portion. (Work carefully, as melted sugar is extremely hot and will burn to the touch.)
ADD butter, when sugar is all melted and deep golden brown. Stir in with spoon to incorporate, along with pine nuts, cayenne and salt.
REMOVE from heat and continue stirring until completely blended. Immediately pour out onto baking sheet and spread into even layer with spoon. Let stand for about 30 minutes until completely cool.
To make pesto:
COMBINE herbs, cheese and pine nuts in food processor or blender; pulse until chopped.
ADD oil and process until smooth.
To make macaroni and cheese:
COOK pasta until al dente, in large pot of boiling salted water; drain well, then rinse under cool water to stop cooking. Return pasta to pot.
MELT butter, in medium saucepan over medium-low heat; stir in garlic and red pepper flakes. When garlic is fragrant, stir in flour. Continue stirring until flour smells nutty and begins to turn golden.
STIR in mustard and vinegar. Gradually whisk in milk and heavy cream. Increase heat to medium and continue whisking until sauce begins to thicken.
REDUCE heat to maintain gentle simmer and continue cooking, stirring often, for 5 minutes (to eliminate starchy texture).
STIR in cheese, truffle oil, salt, white pepper and reserved pesto. Pour sauce over pasta and stir until everything is well blended and heated through. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with crumbles of pine nut brittle and fresh garnishes.
We LOVED this! It took a long time to prepare, but the flavors were really interesting and complimentary. I would recommend going very easy on the ‘sprinkling’ of the brittle – the sweetness was a nice contrast, but it was a mite overpowering. My second bowl, where I put just a pinch or two of brittle, was much better.