Fall comfort: a gluten-free mac and cheese recipe
As fall approaches, people start craving more comfort food like mac-and-cheese. The gluten-free version of this classic dish isn't hard to make at home.
To make this dish, you don’t need to worry about measuring too carefully. In fact, you can leave the measuring cups in the cupboard. This is a recipe you can make entirely by eyeballing and by taste. Try to use just enough milk to cook the cauliflower. You can add more later if needed, but taking it out is another story.
Also, be a bit scant on the seasoning until the very end. You can always add more salt, but you can’t take any away once it’s been added.
I like to use a rice pasta for this dish, although many gluten-free options are out there. Many products available now have a very pleasant texture, a far cry from the gritty stuff which used to dominate the wheat-free pasta market.
Whatever you choose, just make sure that it’s a suitable shape (for example: macaroni, penne, rotini).
Three things to remember about rice pasta:
1. It needs more water and a bit more salt than wheat pasta
2. It tends to stick together so keep it moving in the water. I like to keep the water at an active boil to help with this.
3. Do not overcook rice pasta or else it will be mushy garbage. Wheat pasta remains edible when overcooked; rice pasta does not.
Cauliflower cheddar cheese sauce
Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Onion or shallot
Salt and pepper
Roasted garlic, thyme, and chives are optional
1) Rough chop some cauliflower and put it into a pot. I find that half a cauliflower will yield 3 to 5 servings, depending on the size. Use your judgement. For half a cauliflower, I’d use either one small shallot or else about a quarter of a small onion, roughly diced. Add enough milk to almost cover the cauliflower, along with the remaining ingredients, minus the cheese. Bring to a low boil, cover, and simmer until the cauliflower is soft.
2) When the cauliflower and onion are well-cooked, remove the bay leaf (if you’re using fresh thyme, then remove the woody stem) and blend to a smooth consistency. At this stage, you can add a little milk if it is too thick. While it’s still hot, add the cheese and blend until it is all melted into the sauce. Use as much cheese as you feel it needs, tasting as you go. Check for seasoning.
3) Toss the sauce with freshly-cooked rice pasta and enjoy.