SANFORD, Fla. — For this week's Chef's Kitchen feature, we've discovered a Southern mac dish inspired by a very special lady — she's Chef Nat Russell's wife's grandma.
Russell opened The Tennessee Truffle restaurant in Sanford in 2016.
“Opening this restaurant, I never cooked Southern food before,” he said.
His wife's grandma passed away recently. She was a rock star in the kitchen, and her Macaroni and Tomato dish was one of the chef's favorites.
“This item in particular, I learned from her and — I didn't make it better — but just kind of refined it for the restaurant,” Russell said.
One of those ways is he now uses locally grown tomatoes. The dish is an old-school classic, but it's now “elevated.”
Macaroni and Tomato — The Tennessee Truffle
- 1-2 scallions sliced on the bias
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon bacon fat
- 10 cherry tomatoes or half of a beefsteak tomato
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon Berber pepper
- 3-4 ounces of unsalted vegetable stock
- 1 cup of cooked elbow macaroni
- Add the tomatoes, stock, sugar, salt to a sauté pan.
- Cook on high heat, using your tongs to break down the tomatoes.
- Once the tomatoes are broken down, add the butter and bacon fat.
- Stir the pan constantly until your sauce emulsifies.
- Add your cooked pasta.
- Mix the pasta until the sauce starts to stick to the pasta.
- Turn off your heat, and add your scallions.
- Once plated, sprinkle the Berber pepper on top.