In case any company wonders if all those vendor fairs are worth it...
A few years ago, Aaron ate plenty of homemade mac and cheese. I grew up on the stove top variety and of course, in the spirit of passing on the tradition, I made it for my kids. I bought some boxed gluten-free mac and cheese once for him and he put a spoonful into his mouth, chewed and looked up confused, "Mom, it looks like cheese, smells like cheese but it doesn't taste like cheese." He just was not a box mac and cheese kind of kid.
Then fast forward to the next Celiac conference vendor fair. Aaron sampled the wares along side all of his fellow Celiac kids, and saw how much the other kids loved boxed mac and cheese. They sent home a sample box, and since then that is the only kind of mac and cheese he will eat. Isaiah still prefers home made.
But the mac and cheese saga doesn't end there. My kids also love cooking shows, and recently they saw the Cook's Country baked mac and cheese segment. They wanted that mac and cheese. Since discovering Schar's pasta, gluten-free baked mac and cheese is now not doomed to mushy messes. It also dawned on me that while the Cook's Country recipe uses American cheese for it's stabilizers, many Celiac's have an emulsifier/stabilizer in their pantry - xanthan or guar gum. So I modified the recipe to use almost all cheddar cheese and blue cheese. You don't need to use blue, but the taste isn't strong in the final product.
Gluten-free baked mac and cheese
- 4 slices white bread (we used whole grain, but you should use white)
- 2 TB butter, melted
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 lb. gluten free pasta*
- 4 TB butter
- 2.5 TB sweet rice flour
- 3 cans evaporated milk
- 1/8 t xanthan gum
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 t mustard (or to taste)
- 3 t salt (or to taste)
- 1 t hot sauce (or to taste)
- freshly ground nutmeg and pepper to taste
- 13 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
- 3 ounces blue cheese*
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
* I used Schar's fussili. It is the best GF pasta I have tried, including the expensive imports.
- Pulse bread in food processor until it turns into fine crumbs.
- Add cheese and butter, and pulse until well combined. Set aside.
- Cook pasta in plenty of well salted boiling water, until it is al dente, a bit undercooked. RESERVE 1/2 CUP OF PASTA WATER. Drain the pasta, and rinse with cold water. Place in a 9x13 pan.
- Preheat the oven to 350 while you make the sauce.
- Blend xanthan gum with a bit of the evaporated milk. Set aside.
- In the saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic, followed by the flour, stir well and cook until it is just starting to brown.
- Add evaporated milk and cook over medium heat, until it comes to a boil and is thickened. Add mustard, salt, hot sauce, nutmeg and pepper.
- Remove from heat, stir in cheese and hot pasta water. Stir until cheese is completely melted.
- Pour sauce over pasta and mix well.
- Top with bread crumbs.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until top is browned and sides are bubbly.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
The chopped salad my boys so diligently created to go along
with the mac and cheese, with buttermilk dill dressing