Get the ‘Taystee’ Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese from OITNB’s Danielle Brooks’s Surprise Birthday Party
No pies were thrown and there was not a toilet-paper streamer in sight: But on Saturday, September 13, Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee in Orange Is the New Black, was treated by her castmates to a surprise party in New York City.
In honor of her 25th birthday, Brooks went with a few close friends to see “Cinderella” on Broadway. From there they headed to The Lodge Club in the West Village, where Brooks had been told they’d be having a relaxed dinner.
But, surprise! About 40 of her friends showed up to toast her, including fellow ladies of Litchfield Laverne Cox (Cindy), Dascha Polanco (Daya), Yael Stone (Lorna), Vicky Jeudy (Janae), Jackie Cruz (Marisol), Adrienne C. Moore (Cindy) and Jessica Pimentel (Maria). “Danielle had tears in her eyes she was so surprised,” a rep for the restaurant tells PEOPLE.
The champagne kept coming as the group snacked on truffle macaroni and cheese, sliders and a chocolate birthday cake while watching a slideshow that included photos of Brooks and her OITNB castmates. And though they might play prisoners on TV, they certainly weren’t afraid to let loose during the night.
“Laverne [Cox] and Danielle were breaking it down on the dance floor and everyone seemed to really be enjoying themselves. At one point, the entire room was doing the electric slide,” says the rep.
PEOPLE snagged the recipe for The Lodge Club’s truffle macaroni and cheese. Chef Sean Olnowich makes his own twisted pasta using a Torchio crank machine, but you can substitute your favorite store-bought one as well, ideally in a funky shape that will give your dish even more personality. But whatever you use, the mix of black truffles and white truffle oil will set this dish several echelons above prison fare.
Truffle Macaroni and Cheese
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
For pasta and cheese sauce:
2 tbsp. canola oil
4 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 quart heavy cream
½ cup fresh thyme, chopped
1 lb. white cheddar cheese, grated
1 lb. gruyere cheese, grated
1 lb. fontina cheese, grated
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. twist-shaped pasta (such as gemelli)
Grana Padano cheese (for topping)
garlic breadcrumbs (for topping)
canned or fresh black winter truffles, thinly sliced (for garnish)
white truffle oil (for garnish)
1. Preheat oven to broil.
2. To make béchamel, add butter to a sauté pan on low heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to form the roux.
3. Cook for five minutes to dissolve the flour, then whisk in milk. Keep whisking until all of the roux is incorporated into the milk and forms a smooth sauce. Set aside.
3. In a large saucepan set over low to medium heat, add canola oil and shallots and sweat until soft and add the garlic. Stir and cook for 30 seconds and add heavy cream and thyme and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and stir in the cheddar, gruyere, and fontina cheeses and cook until cheese is melted through and incorporated.
5. Add the béchamel, and cook for 10 more minutes to thicken the sauce. Add the sauce to a blender on medium speed to make sure all of the cheese is incorporated and has a smooth and creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Boil a pot of water with enough salt that it tastes like the ocean. Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes until al dente. Strain the pasta and add to the sauce.
7. Stir pasta and sauce over medium heat for two minutes and spoon into four serving-size cast iron or casserole dishes. Cover top with grated Grana Padano cheese and garlic breadcrumbs and place in the broiler for one to two minutes until the crust browns. Place truffles on top and drizzle with the white truffle oil before serving.