Seriously Delicious Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese
Yield: 4-6 servings, depending on appetite
This is basic mac and cheese at its best...only gluten-free! Easy, cheesy and delicious with just the right amount of crusty topping, this recipe may easily be doubled to feed a crowd. Leftovers are delicious rewarmed.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces corn and quinoa blend elbow pasta (a brand I often use is Ancient Harvest; the corn and quinoa blend is the key to replicating the regular noodle.)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch or arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 level teaspoon Dijon mustard (resist the urge to use a heaping spoonful…a little goes a long way)
  • 2 cups milk (I often use non-fat but 2% or whole will add a little more richness.)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

TOPPING

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 cup crushed Rice Chex cereal (from about 3 cups whole; see notes)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese (see note)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. First, make the topping by tossing the crushed Chex with the melted butter in a medium bowl. Then mix in the cheese. Set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. (Tip: Most mac and cheese recipes recommend slightly undercooking the pasta at this point. With gluten-free noodles, however, I find the final outcome is better if the noodles are cooked just to the point where you’d want to eat them immediately.) Drain well.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan and blend in the cornstarch or arrowroot, salt and pepper. (I like to use a pan that is large enough to stir in the pasta for one less cheesy pot to wash!) Cook until the mixture is bubbly, and then gradually add the milk, stirring while adding. Stir in the Dijon.
  5. Over medium heat, cook and stir until the sauce boils, and then simmer for one minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, add the cheese, and stir until just melted. Remove pan from the heat.
  7. Add the pasta to the cheese mixture and toss lightly to thoroughly coat. Pour into a 9-inch square baking dish (see notes), and then sprinkle with the topping.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the topping is lightly golden.

Notes

  • This recipe may be baked in any 2-quart casserole. I like the 9-inch square pan because it provides a good ratio of crispy surface area to gooey inside. If you use a 9-inch round casserole, which will yield slightly less surface area, you may want to use about 3/4 of the topping recipe.
  • Crushed Rice Chex are my go-to substitute for panko and breadcrumbs when cooking gluten-free. In fact, I like the taste and texture enough to use them even when cooking for those who eat gluten. I crush a large quantity and store in an airtight container to have on hand as needed. A zipper-top bag (or the sturdy cereal bag in which they come) and a rolling pin make quick work of this. Take care to crush them evenly yet not to the point of sand.

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