Easy Mac and Cheese

My entire family loves macaroni and cheese. When I wrote Cooking for your Gluten Free Teen, I developed a recipe for macaroni and cheese using gluten free brown rice pasta; however, I’ve had some complaints that it was too complicated. So I have now created a recipe for mac and cheese that is so easy that anyone can make it.

You make the sauce while the gluten-free macaroni is cooking, drain the pasta, put it back into the cooking pot, then pour in the cheese sauce and mix. Voila! Mac and cheese. If you want to take it one step further, process some gluten-free crackers with butter (or nondairy alternative) in the food processor. Put the cooked mac and cheese into a large casserole dish, sprinkle the crumbs on top and bake until brown and bubbly.

This is a big recipe, making 8 main-dish servings, or 12 side-dish servings. Leftovers are great and can be reheated in the oven, in a double boiler, or, covered, in the microwave. You can even portion it into one or more plastic containers with airtight lids and label date and freeze it. Defrost before reheating.

This is not a low-calorie recipe. Whoever heard of low-cal mac and cheese? But we don’t eat it every day.

A few tips: Always use good sharp or extra sharp yellow Cheddar cheese, not a mild cheese. The dish needs it for the color and the flavor. When making the sauce, be sure to take the pot off the heat after you have cooked the potato starch and butter together. Then add all the liquid, stir with a whisk, return the pot to the heat and whisk constantly until the sauce becomes thick and creamy. Then add the cheese cup by cup, whisking constantly. When the cheese sauce is fully cooked, add it to the drained pasta in the pot, tossing with a silicone spatula until completely mixed.

Easy Mac and Cheese

Yield: 8 main-dish servings, 12 side-dish servings

Easy Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 6 quarts water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ pounds (two 12-ounce packages) brown rice macaroni, preferably Tinkyada
  • 4 tablespoons butter or solid nondairy alternative such as Earth Balance
  • 5 tablespoons potato starch (not flour)
  • 3 cups milk or nondairy alternative such as rice milk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound sharp or extra sharp aged yellow Cheddar, grated
  • 16 Glutino round crackers (about 2 ounces), optional
  • 4 tablespoons butter, or solid nondairy alternative such as Earth Balance, cubed, optional

Instructions

  1. In an 8-quart pot, bring water and salt to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, in a 2-quart pan melt butter over medium heat. Add potato starch and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add milk, mustard and salt. Whisk to mix. Return pan to heat and cook, whisking, until sauce thickens.
  3. Add cheese, cup by cup, whisking until cheese melts. Reserve.
  4. When pasta is cooked, drain into a large colander, then return pasta to the cooking pot. Add the reserved cheese sauce and toss with a silicone spatula until it is completely mixed.
  5. Serve immediately.

Notes

Variations: Place pasta-cheese mixture in a 9 x 13=inch baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place crackers and butter in a food processor and process until fine crumbs form. Sprinkle crumbs evenly on top of the pasta. Bake at 375°F until brown and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes.

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