Thursday, April 14, 2011

MACARONI AND CHEESE





Mac n' Cheese is an obvious all time favorite comfort food. Take mac n' cheese away and for most [particularly my husband] you may as well just cut off their legs [and tongue and hand because without this classic American dish who needs any of these features?].

I admit, I have never been a fan of boxed macaroni. I apologize to all of you big-wig companies who have worked hard to tap into the American psyche and tantalize our taste buds with knock-off "cheese" and nutrient-robbed noodles. You've done a great job. Most of us have fallen for it. But, alas, this is one chick who ain't buying your cheese.

For a while there was a time my life was without mac n' cheese, box or baked. Going gluten-free flipped my world and in picking up the pieces this particular dish was lost. But, good things come to those who wait. Great things come to those who wait and then create. This is one of those great things.

So, to my mac n' cheese dependent husband and all of you gluten-freebies - this one is for you!







[THE RECIPE]  

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Real Salt sea salt
freshly ground pepper
5 slices gluten-free bread, finely ground
2 tbsp. ghee [clarified butter] or non-dairy butter alternative [to make dairy free]
12 oz. gluten-free pasta [I really like Tinkyada brand spirals or shells]
1 1/2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
3 tbsp. brown rice or millet flour + 2 tbsp. arrowroot or tapioca starch
Pinch each of cayenne pepper and nutmeg
1 tbsp. dried thyme or 2 tbsp. fresh [more to taste]
14-ounces of light coconut milk or coconut milk beverage
8 ounces of dairy-free cheddar cheese [I like the Daiya brand]
1 to 2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced and roasted with olive oil, sea salt, pepper and thyme

Melt 1 tbsp. of ghee and 1 tbsp. of olive oil in skillet. Toss in bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute about 2 minutes. Turn of heat and set aside. Cook pasta according to pasta brand instructions. Pour into 8-inch square glass baking dish. Set aside. Melt 1 tbsp. ghee in medium size saucepan. Stir in thyme, nutmeg, and cayenne. Add chicken broth and milk. Whisk in flour. Bring to boil, whisking constantly. Sauce should thicken. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 8 minutes, whisking frequently. Turn down heat and add cheddar cheese. Stir until melted. Pour over noodles and mix until all noodles are thoroughly coated. Top with bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese sauce is bubbling and bread crumbs are dark golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.




4 comments:

Angel said...

OMG, that looks soooo good! I'm definitely going to use So Delicious coconut milk but I wonder if I could use Earth Balance, instead of ghee?

ABOUT ME: said...

Angel, you can definitely use Earth Balance. I love Earth Balance as a substitute for ghee in recipes and can be substituted in all of the recipes that I post calling for ghee.

Danni said...

I've been seeing lots of "dairy-free" recipes that include ghee as an ingredient. I don't know much about ghee, but it seems as though actual ghee is made from cow's milk?
My quick google search says ghee contains little-to-no lactose, for the concerned lactose-intolerant like myself, but it's still not vegan, correct?

TINA VANDERKLOK said...

Hi Danni,

Ghee is essentially lactose free and, depending on the source, casein free. Ghee is made by cooking the butter down until, in the end, it is reduced to oil. Many people who can't digest butter do really well with ghee. That being said, it is still an animal product [from cow's milk, yes] and would not fit the vegan bill. There are quite a few alternatives, including Earth Balance, that can easily be substituted. You can easily make your own ghee using this recipe: http://returntothegarden.blogspot.com/2011/03/ghee-clarified-butter.html. Try it in small amounts first to see how your body responds [pay attention for 2 to 3 days to really know if you can digest it]. Hope this helps!

Tina