Comfort food … Mac & Cheese

There is little more comforting food for me than mac and cheese. I grew up with close family friends whose roots were in North & South Carolina and for almost every large family gathering and holidays … mac & cheese was served in huge restaurant size pans. And I usually went to town! Fast forward a few years and I married a truly southern boy who loves his southern comfort food. Fast forward a few more years and I went to a gluten free diet and I have yet to have mac & cheese made gluten free anywhere … what to do? Learn to make it! Hubby’s favorite version is with chunks of ham in it, but when I am making it as a side, I exclude the ham. It took a little perfecting, but I think we’ve finally found a delectable balance! 🙂 Here’s my take on comforting gluten-free mac & cheese!

1 bag or box of gluten free macaroni noodles or fusili (my favorite is rice macaroni noodles)
2-3 cups of colby/monterey jack cheese (i usually get this pre-shredded)
1 block applewood smoked gruyere, grated (ends up being a couple cups)
3-4 cups of milk (i prefer whole milk)
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp gluten free all-purpose flour
fresh ground black pepper
4 strips thick slices

Cook the pasta to aldente (make sure to salt the water a bit)
Make sure all the cheese is grated and all the ingrediants are ready to go, once you get started it will move quickly
Melt the butter in a fairly large saucepot over med heat
Crush the garlic cloves into the butter and cook for a few minutes, being careful not to brown too much
Add the flour to the butter & garlic to make a rue
Cook for just a few minutes
Add the milk and whisk till smooth
Once the milk has just heated (don’t want it to boil) and you start to see steam come off of it
Add the cheese in small handfuls starting with the applewood smoked gruyere
Once all the cheese has melted into the milk and is smooth, add black pepper to taste
Pour pasta into cheese sauce and stir
Once mixed, pour into greased baking dish (i typically use an 8 x 11)
Top with cheese to cover the top
Cook at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (or until cheese on top is melted)
While baking, crisp the 4 bacon strips and chop finely
Once the mac & cheese comes out of the oven, sprinkle the bacon on top

Enjoy hot!! DSC_0169

Variations:
Main Dish Variation – Add chunks of ham (this will add some saltiness, so season carefully)
Bread crumb topping – some more traditional southern mac & cheese recipes have a bread crumb crunchy topping. I usually combine 1/2-3/4 of a cup of gluten free bread crumbs and a few tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle them on top the last 10 minutes of the baking process. They will brown up and make a sorta crunchy crust. It’s delicious!

Copyright © AromasFromMyKitchen
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