Mac & Cheese, With a Touch of Thai

July 1, 2015 12:00 pm Last Updated: September 4, 2015 5:09 am

Thomas Chen, the chef and owner of Tuome in the East Village, makes mac and cheese but with a very particular riff. Think kaffir lime leaves and karee curry paste.

Chen was inspired by his recent travels to Thailand. “I recently traveled to Thailand and was really inspired by the cuisine there. Curry and kaffir lime are so dominant in Thai cuisine and I wanted to create a dish that embraces those ingredients and that’s familiar to me.”

Curry Mac & Cheese

2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups cream, warmed
2 tablespoons butter
2 kaffir lime leaves
3 tablespoons karee curry paste
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon mascarpone
6 cups cooked pasta, preferably medium shells
Gruyère, to grate

Preheat the broiler.
To start the curry béchamel, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
When the butter is completely melted, stir in flour, and continue mixing the flour into the butter over medium heat. Stir constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly to ensure the raw flour taste is cooked out. This will take approximately 2 minutes.
Stir in cream, curry paste, kaffir lime leaves. Heat to a rolling boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute or until thickened then add mascarpone. Season with salt and sugar to taste.
Incorporate cooked pasta to the béchamel and stir well.
Transfer to an oven-safe dish and grate Gruyère cheese over the top to cover.
Heat in broiler for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is golden brown.

(Recipe from Thomas Chen, chef and owner, Tuome)