If you ask 10 people their favorite comfort food, and 9 of them will undoubtedly say “mac & cheese.” I’m not talking about that blue box with the neon-orange chemical pouch either (although even I will admit, that’s a comfort food in its own right.) But we all know that a casserole dish brimming with bubbling homemade cheese sauce over your favorite pasta is an entirely different animal, and nothing short of divine.
Macaroni and cheese is definitely a favorite in our house, and when I went gluten-free, it was one of the hardest things for me to watch my family eat without me. For the first few months, I simply abstained, and then I discovered Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta.
Honestly, rice pasta is NOT the same as the pasta you’re used to, don’t let anyone tell you differently, but Tinkyada is as good as it gets. My kids actually like it, which is great. I find that I feel best when I’m off grains altogether so I try not to make this very often, but sometimes (like when I make ham or pork chops) nothing but mac & cheese will do.
Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese
Like any mac & cheese, start with a roux. Melt your butter in a saucepan. To keep it G-free, I use brown rice flour or gluten-free All Purpose Flour.
I mix that into the melted butter. This recipe was for Easter so I doubled it, but normally I use 2 cups milk.
Whisk the flour/butter mixture and the milk together in a saucepan over medium heat and slowly heat to boiling.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. I usually cook it a few minutes less than suggested because it will cook more in the oven and it already tends to be a bit mushy (despite the package claims to the contrary.)
After the roux is boiling for a minute or so, remove it from the heat and add more salt and pepper, some dry mustard, and your shredded cheese — about 2 cups. I usually just use cheddar, but if you have some fontina or gruyere, you can replace some of the cheddar with that for an extra punch of flavor. I also add more salt at this point.
Cover it to keep it warm, and when the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the cheese sauce. Pour the whole mess into a buttered casserole dish and pop it in the oven at 400. Bake it for 20 minutes or until it’s bubbling and just starting to brown on top. The tomatoes are entirely optional. I just like them for the color.
Try to save some for the rest of ’em.
- ½ stick (4 TBSP) butter
- ¼ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 8 oz gluten-free elbow pasta, such as Tinkyada
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 2 cups (8 oz) grated cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Melt butter in medium saucepan over low medium-low heat. Add the flour, whisk to combine, then add the cold milk all at once. Cook until thick, stirring frequently.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, but take it off the heat just shy of al dente.
- When milk and flour mixture is thick and bubbly, remove from heat and add remaining salt, pepper, dry mustard and grated cheese.Keep warm while pasta finishes cooking.
- Drain pasta and add it to cheese sauce.Mix well and pour into greased casserole.
- Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until starting to brown on top.