Cover Mac and cheese with caviar and lobster | Photo: Dawson's Official Facebook Page

We celebrate this everyday comfort food with eight decadent iterations of the beloved pasta, from truffle, to foie gras, and even uni.

There’s nothing quite like tucking into a warm bowl of macaroni and cheese. It’s a dish close to the hearts and stomachs of many, lending us comfort throughout our early years (or recent late-night recovery sessions) be it from a box and foil packet or lovingly homemade.

But some days, you find yourself caught in between juvenile cravings for this childhood classic, and extravagant, sophisticated temptations. Here, we give you eight ways to do just that, rounding up luxuriant takes on the staple pasta from truffle, to lobster, and even caviar - edible gold leaf, optional.

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1. Truffle Mac and Cheese

The truffle mac and cheese is a true testament to the persistence of delicious food trends. Whether laced with truffle oil, adorned with freshly-shaved truffles, or better yet, both, the addition of this luxe fungi imbues a delicious, fragrant pungency like no other. 

Tatler Tip: use white truffles for a more potent, spectacularly delicious whiff of this highly-coveted distinct flavour, or black truffles for earthier, more subtle nuances, both of which will stand out on both the plate and palate.

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2. Lobster Mac and Cheese

Lobster mac and cheese is another elevated rendition of the comfort dish that’s grown mainstream - and for good reason. Popularised by the illustrious restaurant The French Laundry, the pairing of rich, luscious pasta with sweet, buttery shellfish has found its way in restaurants and home kitchens around the world. Allow the distinguished chef Thomas Keller to guide you through this tantalising take, here.

Tatler Tip: fresh, tender crab meat would also work beautifully in a mac and cheese.

3. Prosciutto Mac and Cheese

Ham and cheese is a tried-and-tested match-made-in-heaven, so it’s unsurprising that prosciutto would make an excellent addition to mac and cheese. This recipe crisps up bits of the salty, fatty pork, folding the prosciutto into the silky, cheesy pasta before topping it with more gouda and more ham. To make this dish even more unique, Molly even adds fresh yellow peaches.

Tatler Tip: try substituting the prosciutto with pancetta or guanciale, another salt-cured pork, for thicker, meatier, fattier chunks of meat that add that Italian flair

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4. Foie Gras Mac and Cheese

Although its production and use have grown controversial in recent years, foie gras remains a peak symbol of opulence. The French delicacy provides a rich, buttery mouthfeel, coating your palate with subdued liver notes and a strong umami flavour. This recipe from the late and great Joël Robuchon is stellar for many reasons: it’s plated as a gratin; includes celeriac, ham, and a borderline obscene amount of fresh truffle; and of course, incorporates the prized foie gras. 

Tatler Tip: concerned about using foie gras? Fear not, for you are not alone - there are already a number of alternatives on the market, from foie gras produced with less forceful practises, to nut and mushroom-based ‘faux’ gras that you can also make at home.

5. Bone Marrow Mac and Cheese

Speaking of delicious delicacies, roasted bone marrow would effortlessly turn this everyday pasta into an indulgent delight. Like foie gras, bone marrow adds a luxurious melt-in-your-mouth umami element to the dish and also lends slightly nutty and beefy notes. 

Tatler Tip: to pack even more flavour, try roasting the marrow with garlic and rosemary, or blasting the marrow with a blowtorch for a smokey character.

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6. French Onion Mac and Cheese

This interpretation blends two cosy comforts: macaroni and cheese, and french onion soup. By integrating sweet, slightly tangy caramelised onions - and of course, a glorious layer of melted, baked, slightly-crisped gouda, this recipe introduces increased complexity in flavour and texture in a beautiful and brilliant way. All that’s missing is a slice of toast to dig into the bowl with.

Tatler Tip: lean even further into the french onion soup realm and top the dish with cheesy croutons dipped in beef broth.

7. Caviar Mac and Cheese

Another lavish way to marry the elegant tastes of the sea with the ease and comfort of macaroni and cheese is with a simple addition of caviar. Beyond the slight brininess, buttery notes, and fresh gorgeous wafts of the ocean that high-quality caviar will contribute to the dish, these delicate beads also introduce a unique popping sensation that saves mac and cheese from being texturally monotonous.

Tatler Tip: unsure where to source quality caviar in the Philippines? We’ve got you covered - here are some of the best places to purchase top-shelf caviar in Metro Manila.

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8. Sea Urchin Mac and Cheese

Uni mac and cheese poses yet another dispute to the claim that seafood and dairy do not belong together. This recipe blends creamy, sea-scented urchin roe into the classic pasta dish and tops it off with stellar spheres of ikura (salmon roe) for a visually striking, mouthwatering macaroni and cheese. 

Tatler Tip: the term ‘sea urchin roe’ is actually a misnomer, as the yellow-orange divisive aphrodisiac we consume is actually the animal’s reproductive organs, which produce the roe.

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