Good Eats: Mac & Cheese

This month’s Good Eats is all about macaroni and cheese.  Do I really need to say anymore?

Gluten Free Mac & Cheese Sarah in the Kitchen

Mac & Cheese is the fundamental comfort food.  Everyone loves it, no matter how old they are.  Even people who can’t have dairy anymore figure out how to make a bowl of the one thing that makes them feel right at home.

What’s it made of?  Elbow macaroni and a creamy cheese sauce.  Done and done.  Where did it come from?  Italy, of course, but there’s talk of New England and Jeffersonian roots.  Pasta was difficult to make back then so it was an upper class-only kind of dish until the late 1930s when Kraft launched the family table favorite that rakes in a cool $7 million each year.

Homemade recipes run the gamut, from packaged processed cheese mixes to versions with butter and cream that would make Julia Child beam with pride.  Maybe it’s a blend of Parmesan/cheddar/Colby or a super gourmet version with goat, Gruyère, or Gouda.  Add-ins like beef, smoked bacon or heirloom tomato just add to the awesome.

Everyone has a favorite version of the dish, like my gluten-friendly version!  It’s easy to make, mix one pound of gluten free pasta (elbows or shells) with the cheese sauce below for Sarah’s Most Awesome Mac & Cheese.

What you need:

¼ cup butter
½ cup gluten free flour
¼ tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt, or to taste
4 cups milk
2 cups grated cheese, such as Jarlsberg, a part-skim milk Swiss-style cheese

What you do:

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients and whisk into to the melted butter.  Continue to whisk while slurry cooks for about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from burner and add milk all at once.  Whisk until smooth.
  4. Back on the burner, let the slurry thicken and come to a boil.
  5. Add cheese by the handful and whisk until melted and sauce is smooth.