Lately, it seems that many people are climbing aboard the gluten-free bandwagon. Most recently, I was speaking with my favorite hair colorist and he mentioned that he’d eliminated his gut by going gluten-free. After hearing this from so many folks, I decided it was high time to try a gluten-free mac and cheese recipe.
After doing some research I went with a recipe from Tillamook, as they KNOW their cheese and I hoped they wouldn’t steer me wrong.
After reading in several places that quinoa pasta was the way to go if you’re going gluten-free, I searched high and low and couldn’t locate any quinoa pasta. So, as an alternative I went with brown rice.
I had heard that the texture was “off” with rice pasta, but I didn’t find that to be the case at all. I’d highly recommend Tinkyada if you’re looking for a rice pasta with a regular pasta mouth-feel.
First, cook the pasta in a large pot per package directions, then rinse and drain. Set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, shred your cheeses.
In the same large pot in which you cooked the pasta, melt six tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is melted and bubbly, whisk in six tablespoons of gluten-free flour (I love Bob’s Red Mill brand). Continue to cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat until a nutty aroma begins to emerge – about a minute.
Add fat-free milk in a thin stream, still whisking, until incorporated. Next, add the cayenne pepper, mustard powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until the ingredients are combined and allow the mixture to come to a low, rolling boil. Whisk and simmer the sauce until it begins to thicken (about two minutes). Remove the pot from heat.
Add all but 1/2 cup of the shredded sharp cheddar and gruyere to the pot and stir until everything is mixed and happy. Add in the pasta and give it a good stir to combine. The sauce will look a little thin, but that is how you want it as it is going into the oven to bake.
Pour the mac and cheese into a Pammed 13×9 baking dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheeses. You can also add gluten-free breadcrumbs if you wish. Pop into a 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes until top is golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow the dish to rest for at least five minutes before serving.
That’s the tough part, letting it sit out on the counter-top, tempting you! But the wait is so worth it…
I topped mine with some fresh snipped chives just before serving and I loved the subtle onion flavor that melted in with the robust mac and cheese flavor.
I give this one a hearty three and a half elbows up! A couple of notes: the chives definitely gave this mac and cheese a flavor boost it needed. Without them, it was a little bland. Also, I tasted prior to baking to see if it might also be a good gluten-free stovetop mac and cheese, but it really needed the baking time to allow the flavors to meld. I tasted a noticeable difference in the baked versus the stovetop versions.
Here’s my recipe, adapted from Tillamook.
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons gluten-free flour
- 4 cups fat-free milk
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1½ teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 16 ounces gluten-free brown rice fusilli
- 3 cups Tillamook extra-sharp cheddar, shredded
- 1 cup gruyere, shredded
- fresh snipped chives for garnish
- Cook gluten-free pasta in a large pot per package directions, then rinse and drain. Set aside.
- In the same pot, melt butter. Once butter is melted and bubbly, whisk in gluten-free flour. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat until a nutty aroma begins to emerge - about a minute.
- Add fat-free milk in a thin stream, still whisking, until incorporated.
- Add cayenne pepper, mustard powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until the ingredients are combined and allow the mixture to come to a low, rolling boil. Whisk and simmer sauce until it begins to thicken (about two minutes). Remove pot from heat.
- Add all but ½ cup of the cheeses to the pot and stir. Add in the pasta and stir to combine.
- Pour the mac and cheese into a Pammed 13x9 baking dish and top with remaining ½ cup of cheeses. Pop into a 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes until top is golden and bubbly.
- Remove from oven and allow dish to rest for at least five minutes before serving.
- Once plated, garnish with fresh chives.
- Serve and scarf down immediately!
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