To spotlight the most ethereal and elusive ingredient native to the Pacific Northwest, Marcelle Crooks from Little Bird Bistro in Portland shares her recipe for an ultra-comforting and decadently creamy truffled mac and cheese. “I love to serve this dish during the winter months because it warms the bones and the earthy truffle component complements the rich cheese,” she says.

Playing off the lusty aromas and umami flavor of Oregon truffles, we picked sips with equally earthy notes, plus a level of complexity to stand up to the thick and creamy béchamel.

Wine: R. Stuart & Co. Winery NV Rosé d’Or Brut, Willamette Valley
Beer: Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery La Truffe
Cider: 2 Towns Ciderhouse Cidre Bouché
Spirit: Clear Creek Distillery Cherry Brandy (Kirschwasser)

Truffled Mac & Cheese
Recipe courtesy of Chef de Cuisine Marcelle Crooks, Little Bird Bistro, Portland
Serves 6

1 pound (1 package) dry small elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
2 cups gruyere
2 cups aged sharp cheddar
2 cups raclette
Salt, to taste
Truffled béchamel (recipe follows)
Fresh Oregon truffles, optional

Mix together all ingredients and place in a casserole dish. Bake at 375° F (190° C) for 30-45 minutes covered, checking to make sure the mixture is heated through and the cheese has melted. Remove the lid and continue baking until the casserole is golden brown on the top. Pull from the oven and shave fresh truffles to finish.

Truffled Béchamel
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
7 ½ cups whole milk, warmed with 1 ½ tablespoons white truffle oil
2 bay leaves
½ tablespoon salt

Sweat the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoon of butter, then add the rest of the butter. Once melted, add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, making a roux. Add the hot milk (with the truffle oil) and bay leaves. Cook until it coats the back of the spoon; taste for salt and remove the bay leaves. Strain and set aside.