I’ve been eyeing these beauties for years–these Le Creuset mini cocottes in red. (These are the enameled iron one’s, not the pottery versions). Perhaps I’ve been drawn to these beauties because of their diminutive size, or maybe it’s because of their name–cocotte. You do know what a cocotte is, right? Yes, one definition is ‘a shallow baking dish,’ but the other? Look it up. Meanings aside, it’s their impracticality that makes them so appealing to me–perfect for a Valentine’s Day meal.
What can you possibly make in these mini Dutch ovens, you may ask? The possibilities are endless. I imagine adorable little pot pies, souffles, soups, appetizers…and Mac & Cheese!
I chose to make Mac & Cheese in an attempt to recreate one of my favorite dishes from Cheesetique in Alexandria. This is definitely not low-calorie, but come on, Valentine’s Day only comes around once a year, so I splurged.
Macaroni and Four Cheese Gratin with Truffle Oil
Adapted from Le Creuset’s Mac & Cheese Recipe
This recipe serves 4, but I only have two mini cocottes, so I put the remaining mac and cheese in a small Le Creuset baker.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
- 18 oz winter durum wheat macaroni
- 1 oz (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus 1 tbl
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 oz Gorgonzola
- 2 oz Fontina
- 2 oz Marscarpone
- 2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 cup panko or bread crumbs
- Truffle oil, to taste (I drizzled a teaspoon or so on each mini)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Tip: Cheeses with higher fat content melt better than those that with a lower one! So combine your favorites: creamy Fontina, Gorgonzola, buffalo mozzarella, Parmigano Reggiano.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly butter 2 mini cocottes (and the small baker, or ramekins) .
- Cook macaroni in boiling salted water for about 8 minutes; it should be al dente; not entirely cooked. Pass the pasta under cold running water to stop them from cooking.
- Melt the butter in a small pan over a low flame. Add the cream, the Gorgonzola,
the Fontina, the Marscarpone and the Parmigiano Reggiano (reserving 4
tablespoons for the top). Stir the cheese until all are well melted. Add salt and
freshly ground pepper to taste.
- In a separate pan, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Once it’s melted, add the panko or breadcrumbs to lightly coat.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and divide into 2 mini-cocottes and baker dish. Sprinkle the
rest of the Parmigiano Reggiano over each cocotte along with a little bit of panko or breadcrumbs to your liking. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and crusty looking. On taking them out of the oven, let them rest for 5 minutes before serving. Drizzle a little bit of truffle oil on each, to taste.