Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Easy-peasy gluten-free macaroni and cheese

I have to confess.

I have never been able to successfully make macaroni and cheese from a roux. Not with gluteny flour, not with un-gluteny flour. Melting that butter and whisking in the flour to just the right consistency...I just could never do it right. It either burned, becoming too hard too fast, or never fully cooked and made grainy-textured macaroni and cheese. I feel that not being able to accomplish this basic cooking task, which is central to making any white sauce, which so many cooks have done before me, makes me somehow an inferior cook. But, such is life.

Those of you who can accomplish this "basic" cooking task, I salute you.

However, now neither I nor you have to. While making homemade condensed soup a few weeks ago, I realized how easy it would be to add cheese to that mixture, pour it over gluten-free noodles and bake for macaroni and cheese.

Which is precisely what I did the other day, to make the macaroni and cheese you see pictured above.

Oh, it was absolutely creamy, cheesy, and unbelievably delicious.

And I didn't even have to stress about whether the roux would work! Really, this is the easiest macaroni and cheese recipe I have ever seen.

Easy gluten-free macaroni and cheese:

The cheeses I have listed are what I used, because I had them on hand, but use any combination of cheeses you like in your mac and cheese. Also, the cheese measurements are rough approximations – use more or less, to taste. I'm sure you can make this dairy-free by using your favorite milk substitute (I have successfully created the white sauce using hazelnut milk in the past) and adding almond or soy cheese.

1 cup milk (or half and half for richer sauce)

2 tablespoons tapioca flour

1 tablespoon butter

about 2 cups (loosely measured) cheddar cheese, shredded (I use sharp cheddar)

about ¼ cup aged Gouda cheese, shredded

about ¼ cup Havarti cheese, shredded

4 servings of gluten free noodles (I like Tinkyada brand)

¼ cup Almond flour

Pour the milk cold into a saucepan and whisk in the tapioca flour, until dissolved. Add the butter, turn on the burner, and heat over med-high heat to a slow boil, stirring constantly, until sauce begins to thicken. Turn off the burner and add the cheese, a bit at a time, until all of the cheese is melted and incorporated (reserve some if you like extra cheese sprinkled on top of your mac and cheese bake). Set aside.

Cook your noodles according to package directions and drain well. Place cooked noodles into a large casserole dish and pour cheese sauce over the top. If you like pepper or any other ingredients in your mac and cheese, add them at this point. Stir the mixture to cover the noodles with the sauce.

Sprinkle any reserved cheese and the almond flour on top.

Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes, until the top becomes golden brown and the cheese is bubbly around the edges.



DeerDominique said...

Yum, I was just thinking about a wheat free mac cheese the other day. I'll give this a try. Just curious, do you think that brown rice flour will work in lieu of tapioca?

Lauren Denneson said...

deerdominique - Thanks for stopping by! The tapioca is a thickener, like cornstarch or arrowroot, so you could use either of those as a perfect substitute in this recipe. If you know how to make a roux (using flour and butter) to make a white sauce, then brown rice flour would work in that scenario in place of the regular flour. I, unfortunately, have never been successful doing that method.
Hope this helps!

shannon said...

I've been looking for a mac-n-cheese recipe for my 12 year old who was just diagnosed with a wheat, soy, nut, tomato allergy. I'd like to try this recipe, what flour would I use to replace the almond flour? Thanks!

Lauren Denneson said...

Hi Shannon,
I use the almond flour in this recipe to replace the bread crumbs many "traditional" mac and cheese recipes use, so any "wheat free" or "gluten free" bread crumbs would work as well (you can buy these at whole foods or buy a loaf of wheat-free or gluten-free bread and mash up some slices yourself). You could also try ground flax seed. I'm sure the dish would be just as delicious without the "bread" topping, however :)

Pam said...

I am not GF but I make terrible Mac & Cheese from scratch. This looks good; I could actually make a good Mac & Cheese from your recipe. Thanks!

Um, let me explain about the 'not GF but am reading through your recipes' thing. I think I'm sensitive to commercial pesticides used on commercial wheat (and other grain?) crops. Organic regular bread and organic wheat foods don't seem to bother me, cheap common wheat foods/breads do, starting with heartburn, etc. So I figure it might be good for my body to incorporate some GF eating into my diet, and avoid non-organic wheat whenever practical.

So thank you. Love your blog. ☺