Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gluten-Free Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

I am a comfort food freak. I don't crave it as much here in California because it is rare we have a rainy day. We don't have one today either. It is as beautiful as ever. 80 degrees and sunny like always. BUT, I need comfort. I say this to you as I type wearing my neckbrace. I am supposed to wear it whenever I am "up" (stupid car accident). It is uncomfortable, but I need to get some cooking done for my soul. So I am wearing it. As I have my own little pity party, I am making myself some yummy Gluten-Free Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese I adapted this recipe from Saveur but made it gluten free.

Let's talk a minute about Gluten-Free noodles. They are not all created equal. There are a lot of slimy tasteless pastas out there. I have not tried them all. I have gone by word or mouth thankfully. One thing everyone seems to agree on Bionaturae pasta is the absolute best Gluten-Free pasta out there. Hard to even tell the difference. This is the pasta I am using for today's dish.
Salt to taste
8 ounces elbow macaroni Bionaturae pasta Gluten-Free
1/2 cup Gluten Free bread crumbs ( I actually like the tortilla crumbs best )
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 shallots, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup Gluten-Free-All-Purpose Flour blend
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups milk
10 ounces grated sharp white cheddar (about 4 cups)
10 ounces grated Gruyère (about 4 cups)
6 ounces Parmesan, cut into small cubes
1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a 4-quart saucepan of water to boil, lightly seasoned with salt. Add pasta and cook as directed on package for half the cooking time. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Wipe out the pan and set on medium heat. Melt 3 TB butter and add paprika, thyme sprigs, shallots, and bay leaf. Cook until shallots have softened, stirring constantly about 5 minutes. Add flour and cayenne and stir until mixture thickens, about 1 minute.

Whisk in the milk and cook, continuing to whisk until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Discard the thyme springs and bay leaf and remove pan from heat.

Stir in cheddar, half of the Gruyère, the Parmesan, and blue cheese. Continue stirring until smooth. Stir in pasta and season sauce with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta/cheese mixture to a baking pan that's been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Evenly distribute remaining Gruyère over top of pasta and then top with bread crumbs. Place baking dish on a baking sheet that's been lined with aluminum foil and bake at timing listed below OR until bubbly and crust has turned a golden brown.

Bake at 350 degrees
For a 8"x8" baking pan; cook about 30 minutes.
For smaller individual-sized portions cook about 12-15 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. This goes really well with a crispy vegetable to offset the gooey creamy pasta, and don't forget a glass of wine.
look how yummy it is!


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