Comfort Food: Mac and Cheese

I usually try to eat healthy - you know, by eating fruits, veggies, limiting sugar, and all that. But sometimes, you need some good ol' comfort food like Grandma used to make for Sunday dinner. Macaroni and cheese is one of those things for me, and I always prided myself on my ability to whip up amazing macaroni and cheese from scratch.

Then I went gluten-free, and all of that went out the window. When you're living gluten-free, pasta is not pasta is not pasta. There are some types of noodles that work o.k. for some things, and some that work o.k. for others. There are stunningly few types of gluten-free pasta that are actually good. And even fewer that can stand up to boiling, then baking for thirty minutes in the oven. And even fewer that can handle being reheated as leftovers. Maybe I have unreasonable expectations, but I want those comfort food calories to be worth it!

Somehow I don't have a picture for this recipe. But fluffy puppies are also comforting, so here's a picture of Odin when we first got him. (He's now tripled in size, and not so fluffy, but still a very pretty boy, if I may say so.)
I also discovered that I'm pretty darn sensitive to dairy - not so sensitive that I can't drink it, but sensitive enough that it must be organic, and from grass-fed cows. Otherwise, life ain't pretty. But I was not about to go down the road of non-dairy "cheeze." That's just not my thing. (Plus, I tried just about every non-dairy milk on the market, and even tried making my own. Also not my thing.)

Anyways, it took me a while to figure out what cheeses and milks I could eat and drink, and then a while to find the right pasta to go in my macaroni and cheese recipe.  I use a traditional roux for the cheese sauce, so finding the right gluten-free flour was also important to me. You could really use anything you wanted to, but I happen to like potato flour (not starch) for this recipe. I have used just about any and every other gluten-free flour though, and they all can do the job. 

Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese

4 ounces quinoa-corn pasta, or your favorite pasta
1 small onion, diced
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
2 T potato flour
1 1/2 c 2% milk
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
2 c cheese (I use at least three types, every single time. It helps balance out the properties of each cheese.)
1/4 t dry mustard
1/4 t salt
1 t paprika
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9x9 casserole dish.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously. Cook the pasta until almost al dente (about one minute less than recommended on the package). Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, saute the onion in the butter and olive oil until soft. Add the potato flour, and cook, stirring, about two minutes. Slowly add in the milk and the cream, stirring to incorporate it into the potato. When all the milk has been added, continue to cook over medium-low heat, being careful not to let the milk boil. Slowly add in the cheese, stirring to incorporate. 

When all the cheese has been added, add in the mustard, salt, paprika, and pepper, stirring to incorporate. Stir in the pasta, then pour the whole shebang into the greased casserole dish.

I like to top my macaroni and cheese with herbed (gluten-free) breadcrumbs, but some people prefer topping with more cheese. Do whatever makes you happy - from this point on, it's your baby! Whichever way you go, you'll want to cook the macaroni in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, until it's all hot and bubbly.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

No comments:

Post a Comment