Chef Michael Rusconi developed his love for the flavor and fragrance of white truffles while working at Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician many years ago. When white truffles were delivered via the freight elevator into the kitchen, the scent infiltrated all corners of the restaurant. “The smell is so unique. You never forget that,” he says. “And nothing else tastes quite like it.”
To spread his love of white truffles, Rusconi whips up truffled macaroni and cheese to go along with beef tenderloin at Rusconi’s American Kitchen.
While the dish is a mainstay on Rusconi’s menu, he’s sharing the recipe for those who might like to make it at home. He cautions that finding some of the ingredients for the truffled macaroni might prove difficult, but specialty grocery stores will be your best bet. Also, when shopping for beef tenderloin at your local butcher shop or grocery store, look for fat marbling in the meat for more flavor, Rusconi says.
The secret to cooking a great steak at home? “Start off with a lot of heat to get a nice sear and then back the heat off. And then when the steak is cooked the way you want, pull it off the heat and let the meat rest for five minutes so that the protein has time to relax.”
Beef Tenderloin with Truffled Macaroni and Cheese and red wine syrup
Yields: 4 portions
4 tenderloin steaks, 8 oz. each
Baby carrots, other vegetables of your preference
Red Wine Syrup:
1 quart Cabernet sauvignon
½ cup honey
Macaroni and Cheese:
8 oz. macaroni (We use fresh egg pasta called Cornetti. Availability of this specific pasta may be limited, but try to use a fresh product.)
1 tbsp. each salt and canola oil
½ tbsp. butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded San Joaquin gold cheese (if not available, substitute Parmesan)
Truffle oil (We use Urbani brand truffle oil, but there are many other good names.)
To make the macaroni: Cook pasta in 1 gallon boiling water with salt and oil to al dente and cool rapidly. (Cooling stops pasta from overcooking. Water loaded with ice is the best. Take the pasta out as soon as it is chilled.)
To make the cream base: Low heat is the key to this sauce, be very attentive when heating the cream as it can expand rapidly and make a mess! Melt butter in 8-cup size saucepan. Add shallot, cook for five minutes over low heat. Add wine to pan, cook until absorbed. Stir in heavy cream, bring to simmer. Add cheese, turn off heat and stir until melted. Finish with truffle oil. Tasting is key – truffle lovers will probably add about 3 oz. of oil to finish the dish.
To make the red wine syrup: Reduce the red wine and honey slowly in a heavy-bottomed stainless steel pot. You want the red wine to have a syrup consistency when chilled.
To make the steaks, cook the vegetables and finish the macaroni: Preheat grill to 400 degrees. Grill steaks to desired temperature. Meanwhile, place cheese sauce in medium saucepan. Add pasta to cheese sauce to rewarm. Melt ½ tbsp. butter in small sauté pan, add baby carrots and other vegetables and cook to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
To plate: Spoon the macaroni in the middle of the plate and place the tenderloin on top of the macaroni. Drizzle the red wine syrup around the plate and into the cream sauce that runs out of the macaroni. Plate vegetables around the tenderloin.
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