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Mac & Cheese

It’s the ultimate comfort food isn’t it? Whenever the conversation of gluten free comes up with people, one of the first responses is “Oh, I don’t know how you do it. How do you live without pasta?!?” Ummm, I don’t? Really, there’s very little I live without.

Of all things where there are appropriate ‘substitutes’, I’m not comfortable with that ‘sub’ word for gluten free pasta.  Substitute suggests it’s not as good as the ‘normal’ version.  There really is no difference.  Really. I swear. Pasta is a mild flavor with a familiar and well known texture.  They have perfected that texture in a cost effective (relative to other gluten free foods at least) and made it widely available.  I think I’ve tried about 10 different types and they’re all so good!  Brown Rice, Corn, Quinoa, Buckwheat… so many awesome grains out there that I never even considered.  Try some! And start with some Mac & Cheese. You know you want some.

Focus. Mac & Cheese.  It requires two things: pasta + cheese sauce.  You can put this together faster than you can drop $20 bucks to order pizza of shame if you’re hungry.  Odds are, you actually have most the stuff at home already!

To make the sauce, we’ll start with making a roux.

Place about a tablespoon of Potato Starch (which I used) or Corn Starch into a glass.  (Sure, you could use all purpose flour too, but why do you hate your gut? Why? WHY?)

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Add enough water so you can stir it up into a milky liquid. Keep it close, you’ll need it in a minute.

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In a small pan, add about a tablespoon of better and 1/2 cup of milk.  I used light butter and 1% milk, but use whatever you have.  I used that, because that’s what I had.

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Turn on medium heat and watch it melt together.

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Don’t let it come to a boil, it will curdle your milk. When it’s melted and hot, it’s time to thicken it up.  Grab your potato starch liquid and begin adding a bit at a time.

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You’ll probably use about 1/3-1/2 of it. It’s really going to depend on how thick you like your sauce.  Start with about a 1/4 and adjust as it thickens.

It will sneak up on you as you whisk away.  Before you know it, you’ll see it’s thick enough you can see the bottom of the pan when you whisk it.

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When it’s reached the consistency above, add your cheese! I used just some shredded Mexican blend from Trader Joe’s, but be creative! Ever wonder what that bacon cheddar you got at the store might be good for? This. You should add between 3/4 and 1 cup.  It seems like a lot, but you’ll thank me later.

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Blend it up in your thickened dairy.  Look at that!

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Thick and cheesy wonderful.

Part 2: PASTA

There are so many choices. If you don’t need to be gluten free, then grab whatever your little heart desires.  I would still tell you to just give one of these a shot though.

I don’t even remember where or when I got this one. I tend to lean towards the mixed grains ones, so I don’t know what inspired me to buy a pure brown rice one.  Even so, it’s pretty awesome!

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I measured out 3oz.  Why? It’s been a long week and I have a portion control problem when it comes to pasta.  I’ll eat as much as a I make, so I might as well only make as much as I want to eat.  No food comas tonight. (I have wine for that).

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Add your pasta to boiling water that has been salted. Cook per package directions.  I got a 9 minute break.

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Drain your pasta. Rinse it if that’s your thing. I don’t.20130412-223419.jpg

Add your perfectly al dente pasta to the cheese sauce awesomeness.20130412-223425.jpg

Toss it all together.  Doesn’t it look amazing?

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It might be the most perfect food.

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Well… almost.

Ok. Now it’s perfect.

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Happy Friday! Cheers!

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