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Gluten-Free Cheddar Pasta Bake Recipe

A retro classic gets a gluten-free makeover


Gluten-Free Cheddar Pasta Bake Recipe

For those cooking gluten-free pasta for the first time, the trick is to not over-boil it- keep it very al dente, as it continues to cook in the cheddar sauce. If you'd like to make this a one-dish supper, add broccoli florets to the pasta before you bake it. Cornbread crumbs make a tasty crunchy topping.

Ingredients:

12 oz. dry gluten-free elbow macaroni, penne, or spirals
1 1/2 tablespoons light olive oil (or butter)
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour (or all-purpose gluten-free flour mix)
2 1/2 cups milk (or non-dairy unsweetened milk substitute)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or non-dairy gluten-free cheese)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free honey mustard
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine- optional
1 cup gluten-free cornbread crumbs- for topping
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the gluten-free pasta just until it is al dente - tender, but still quite firm to the bite. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse it quickly under cold water. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and stir in the rice flour (I like to use a whisk to do this). Cook and stir the flour for about 10 seconds, then slowly add in the milk, whisking to blend the flour paste and milk (called a roux).

Bring the mixture to a boil (it will thicken as it heats) then reduce the heat to low. Add the shredded cheddar, salt and pepper, mustard and nutmeg and stir. If adding a dash of sherry, add it now.

Continue stirring the sauce until the cheddar melts, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a 6-cup baking dish, combine the cooked penne with the cheddar sauce. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with buttered gluten-free bread crumbs and paprika.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes, until bubbling.

Serves 4.


Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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Karina's Notes:

Adding sliced tomatoes on the top, or a handful of halved sweet grape tomatoes sprinkled with basil and Parmesan is an option- and very pretty.

To add more protein to the cheese sauce I sometimes stir in a beaten egg; this thickens and enriches the sauce, especially if you're using skim milk or a thin non-dairy milk.

Sometimes I add a cup of cooked broccoli florets, or green peas, to the cooked pasta before I add the cheese sauce and bake.

You could also add Alaskan salmon or even tuna, if you're feeling a bit old school.

Once in a blue moon I add a mild curry to the sauce- not too much- just enough to add a little something extra to the flavor. I use a mild cheese instead of sharp cheddar, and top it off with thin baby asparagus spears.

For how to make a fabulous new gluten-free vegan cheesy uncheese sauce for mac and cheese (without using vegan cheese) check out Karina's new cheesy-uncheesy dairy-free casein-free cheese sauce recipe here.


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