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Truffle Mac and Cheese and a Bottle of Wine for Your Valentine

Thursday Feb 9, 2012

If there is one reason to praise winter, it is for the comfort found in moments at home shared with irreplaceable company and unforgettable flavors. Tucked away from the cool weather, there is nothing better than opening a bottle of wine with loved ones and sharing a homemade meal that highlights the flavors that are so indicative of winter.

Campo Viejo, Rioja's largest wine producer, conducted a survey to determine exactly what flavors keep food and wine lovers in their kitchens December through March.

The results showed that the most popular winter foods were cheeses, meats and pies, which inspired the following three-course tasting menu, designed to be enjoyed with the Campo Viejo 2010 Tempranillo (SRP: $9.99).

The deep cherry hues and intense red fruit notes make this young wine incredibly approachable, while hints of vanilla, cocoa and spice make this bottle an ideal choice for the indoor months.

Try a bottle with Truffle Mac and Cheese (recipe below) - and watch your Valentine swoon.

Truffle Mac and Cheese

The truffles reflect the earthy undertones in the Tempranillo, and the richness of the cheese is balanced by the wine’s modest acidity.

1 16-ounce box elbow macaroni
½ teaspoon salt
Olive oil
1 quart whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons white truffle oil, divided
12 ounces Comté cheese, grated
8 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Shaved truffles for garnish, optional

• Preheat the oven to 400° F. Grease a 10x13 baking pan.
• Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and a drizzle of olive oil to boiling water. Add pasta and cook al dente (slightly underdone is better than overdone). Drain, rinse briefly under cold water and set aside.
• While the pasta is cooking, heat the milk over low heat until hot, but not boiling.
• Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until melted. Reduce heat and add the flour, whisking constantly to form a smooth paste, about 2 minutes. Add in rosemary, continuing to mix.
• Gradually whisk in the hot milk and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of the truffle oil, then mix the Comté and cheddar until melted. Season with salt and pepper (to taste).
• Add the pasta to the sauce, stirring to coat, and pour into baking pan.
• Top with the panko bread crumbs and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown.
• Before serving, drizzle with remaining truffle oil and shaved truffles (if desired). Serve hot.


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