February 17, 2010

Gluten-Free Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese

If you ask people what their favorite comfort food is, chances are, macaroni and cheese will be one of the most popular. And why not? Macaroni and cheese is creamy, cheesy, and at its best, baked with a bit of crunch on the top. It soothes our souls and makes for happy bellies. The popularity of macaroni and cheese is proven by the countless variations offered at restaurants all across the country. The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board recognizes this, and so when they approached me to contribute to their new blog, 30 Days 30 Ways with Macaroni and Cheese, how could I say no?

But when you’re following a gluten-free diet, macaroni and cheese is not something so easily acquired. Since going on a gluten-free diet, I have not had the joy and comfort that comes from this humble dish. At times, memories of Luby’s creamy macaroni haunted me. (If you lived in Texas for any length of time, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Luby’s may not be the finest of dining establishments, but they have some of the creamiest macaroni and cheese. I’ve loved it since I was a kid.) Well, the pining stops here.

Meet gluten-free macaroni and cheese, made simple by my best pasta friend, Tinkyada. Of course, you can use any gluten-free pasta that you choose – I just love Tinkyada’s brown rice pasta because it doesn’t turn mushy. And since it’s made from brown rice, I’m getting a bit of fiber into the dish. (Not to say that this is health food – it’s still macaroni and cheese, after all!) And no, Tinkyada isn’t paying me to tell you about all of this – I just love their products.

This Parmesan macaroni and cheese is relatively straightforward. Of course, if you choose, you can add ingredients to your liking Рbacon, chopped tomatoes, or other cheeses would all be welcomed here. We have a tendency to be purists in our home when it comes to macaroni and cheese, so we opted to keep it simple. And let me tell you Рsimple was delicious!

Gluten-Free Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese

4 cups dry gluten-free pasta (I used Tinkyada brown-rice fusilli)

1/4 c (1/2 stick, or 4 T) butter

3 T tapioca starch/flour

2 1/2 c milk

3 t dry mustard

1 t paprika

1 egg, beaten

12 oz mild white cheddar, grated

2 oz Parmesan, finely grated

1 t salt

1 t ground black pepper

Cook the pasta as directed on package, removing from water 2-3 minutes early, so that the pasta is very firm. Drain.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large baking dish. In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat, and pour in the tapioca starch.Whisk constantly, for 2-3 minutes, or until light brown. (Do not let it burn.) Pour in the milk, and add the mustard and paprika.  Whisk until smooth, and cook, whisking constantly, until very thick. Reduce heat to low. Pour about 1/4 cup of the thickened sauce into the egg and whisk constantly to avoid the cooking the egg. Pour egg mixture into sauce, and whisk in all but about 1/2 cup of the cheddar and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper, tasting to adjust as needed.

Pour in the pasta and stir to combine. Place into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until sufficiently browned.

Serves 6-8.

22 Responses to “Gluten-Free Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. That looks gorgeous! Yum!

  2. Mmm love me some mac & cheese! If you can find it and can tolerate corn, I strongly encourage you to try corn pasta, I think the texture and consistency comes out much better than the brown rice pasta. Maybe I will make some mac tonight for dinner!

  3. I am feeling comfort just seeing the picture! Looks so good… and simple too. I see it appearing on my dinner plate in the near future! (great site by the way!)

  4. Loooks so creamy! Great substitute. It probably was better than the gluten filled versions.

  5. They are truly a comfort food and they are gluten free. I think we have them here.

  6. An excellent gluten-free version of mac & cheese – I love your addition of paprika!

  7. This looks totally awesome, and clearly sacrifices absolutely nothing, flavor-wise, to be gluten-free. I’m so glad you can enjoy this essential comfort food again!

  8. And this is my New Year’s resolution…..to make Mac and Cheese, which I’ve never done! Go on…laugh :-). Sound yummy……melted cheese, hmmmmmmmm

  9. wow I would love a bite of that cheesy-goodness!

  10. Yum!! Nicely done. I see you’ve added my favorite spice too. (paprika)

  11. You mac and cheese looks wonderfully gooey and cheesy!

  12. I used to love mac and cheese but lately it has lost its touch.

  13. I agree that Tinkyada brown rice pasta is the best (although I recently tried a wild rice pasta that I picked up in Canada that was also amazing). This mac and cheese sounds delicious… perfect for a cold evening.

  14. . . . . . .. *drool* . . . . . . . .

  15. I remember Luby’s macaroni and cheese – so good.

    Will have to try your version ASAP.

  16. Always a popular dish indeed! Yours looks great, Alta. I like simple and flavorful and prefer Tinkyada as well. I’ve even made macaroni and cheese using Tinkyada in the microwave. It worked surprisingly well. Congrats on being invited to participate in the cheese board blog!

    Shirley

  17. Thanks for posting this..the macaroni is so cheesey and it’s taste so deliciuos.It’s good to serve in our family at home…We should try to make it at home….

  18. I wish you were in NYC so I could take you to S’Mac! Best mac and cheese, gluten free or not! This looks so good…definitely one of my favorite comfort foods. I still haven’t tried Tinkyada pasta but everyone says it’s great.

  19. Alta, I’d love to mention this recipe on my fan page and link it back to you? Let me know what you think! Amanda

  20. Pingback: Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Raisins, & Feta: Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger : Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

  21. Great recipe! We made this last night using Tillamok vintage white, Gorgonzola and Parmesan cheeses, and topped with gluten free bread crumbs with the cheese. It was awesome and we will be making it again and again!

  22. One more thing, we only had smoked paprika in the cabinet, and it created a great flavor with the mustard!

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