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Martha’s macaroni and cheese gone hippie

January 10, 2011

Recently I was eating dinner with some friends and the two of us who are trying to limit gluten consumption were complaining about missing mac n cheese (the good baked stuff, not the boxed kind).  These are the same friends who we have frequent board game nights with, so I decided that at our next game night I’d make a gluten and cow-milk free macaroni and cheese.  Several months ago I probably wouldn’t have attempted this, but the new TJ’s brown rice pasta is surprisingly good and they now carry a pretty wide variety of goat and sheep milk cheeses, so I wouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg buying specialty cheese from the co-op.

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve made M&C, so I decided to start with a recipe and vary it as needed.  Smitten Kitchen had a tasty sounding recipe so I used that as my base and worked around all the gluten and dairy (basically the entire recipe!).  I’m going to list exactly what brand I used of things, because I figure it might make it easier if you are at a loss for what to use for gf products.  The end result was really hard for me to differentiate from a cow-dairy, gluten-filled M&C.  The pasta held up really well, though you have to expect a chewier pasta than with wheat (it’s sort of like whole wheat pasta to me).  And the cheese sauce was nice and tangy from the goats milk cheeses.  And while it’s not healthy by any means, it didn’t give me the bloated stomach feeling that I get when I eat a that much cow-milk dairy.

Martha’s Macaroni and Cheese Gone Hippie
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

4 tablespoons soy-free Earth Balance butter
3 slices Udi’s whole grain bread
1 T herbes de provence
2 1/4 cup Whole Grain milk (TJ)
1/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp white goat cheddar cheese (TJ)
1 cups (about 4 ounces) grated goat milk Gouda (TJ)
1/2 cups (about 2 ounces) grated sheep milk Romano cheese (TJ)
3/4 pound brown rice pasta (TJ)
1/2 cup chopped broccoli or spinach

Preheat oven to 375 and oil an 8×8 baking pan.

To make the breadcrumbs:
1) Using dry slices of bread (stick them in the warming oven for a few minutes if they aren’t dry). Break the bread up into large pieces and place into a food processor with herbes de provence. Mix until bread crumbs reach desired size and consistency. I like a mixture of some larger pieces and some smaller bread crumbs.
2) In a saucepan melt 1 T of the butter. Add the breadcrumbs to the melted butter and stir until bread is evenly coated by butter. Set breadcrumbs aside.

To make the pasta:
1) Cook pasta according to the package, but take a few minutes off of the normal cooking time! GF pasta is temperamental, but you want it to be slightly undercooked as it will cook more as it bakes.
2) Strain slightly undercooked pasta and run cold water over it to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

To make the cheese sauce:
1) Grate all your cheeses before you start making the sauce.
2) Warm your milk over medium to low heat.
3) Melt the remaining 3 T of butter in a medium size saucepan. When the butter starts to bubble, add the GF flour, stirring as you add it to avoid lumps! Cook for one minute, stirring the entire time (I like a whisk for this).
4) Whisking constantly, pour in the hot milk a little at a time. I like to make my kitchen helper pour in the milk so that I can keep whisking. Continue cooking at a medium-low heat until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. This might take around 10 minutes, though mine started to thicken up right away.
5) Remove the pan from heat and stir in your remaining spices and 3/4 of your cheese. Set cheese sauce aside.

Now put it all together:
1) Add cooked pasta to oiled baking pan. Add in chopped broccoli or spinach if you are a fan of greens in your M&C.
2) Pour cheese sauce over pasta & greens and mix a bit so that they are covered pretty evenly by sauce.
3) Sprinkle remaining cheese and breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta.
4) Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. I put foil over mine after the first 15 so that the crumbs wouldn’t get too dry.

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