Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mac and Cheese DeLuxe

Late last summer I made the decision to make some dietary changes. I don't have serious food allergies, I'm not celiac or diabetic, but I had discovered through trial and error that some foods had a negative effect on my physical well-being. One of those that seemed to have a major impact was gluten.

Going gluten-free was pretty easy in the late summer and fall. I shopped at the farmers market every week, ate lots of salad and berries and fish and chicken. Without bread or pasta in my life, I started to lose weight without trying -- bonus! But then the cooler weather set in, the time of year when we turn to slow-cooked comfort foods, and it got a bit harder. (I had also chosen to eliminate the nightshade family -- potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers) Thanksgiving dinner without mashed potatoes and gravy, no bread stuffing. Christmas without baking. No more fish and chips, a favourite quick meal out. No pizza.

One dish I've been particularly craving has been mac and cheese. Don't ask me why; I never eat KD, and former pasta dishes usually had meat or veggie sauces. But I wanted rich and gooey mac and cheese.

Time to get creative in the kitchen. Now I'm no moderndaymartha and I seldom use recipes as more than guidelines. This can be a problem; When my experiment is a success, I don't always remember how to repeat it. And even more difficult when I get asked for the recipe. So primarily for my own benefit, here's what I did last night:

Preliminaries: Cooked about 500 g of rice pasta in salted water; grated about 125 g each of asiago and aged cheddar cheeses. (next time, undercook the pasta -- it continues to soften in the sauce.)

1. Chopped up couple slices of prosciutto -- bacon would do -- sauteed in saucepan.
2. Added some olive oil -- let's say 1 tbsp.
3. Sauteed minced clove of garlic and 1/2 c diced onion.
4. Added some rice flour -- wheat flour will do -- let's say 1 tbsp. Stirred all together; cooked a bit.
5. Stirred in about 2 cups of light cream, brought up to boiling temp then down to just below simmer.
6. Stirred in a handful of grated cheese at a time until melted.
7. Stirred in 1/2 pkg of goat cheese with truffle until melted -- would use the whole package next time.
8. Stirred in some other finely grated cheese I found in the fridge -- I think it was Parmesan, maybe 1/2 cup.
9. Found some sour cream in the fridge so threw that in too -- again, maybe 1/2 cup.
10. Seasoned with fresh ground pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.
11. Mixed with the cooked pasta, transferred to a baking dish and popped into a 350 oven for a while -- probably about 1/2 hour. Could have topped with buttered crumbs but didn't.
12. Served hubby once..... twice...... and then he packed up the rest for his lunch today. Huh. I was the one with the craving. Guess it passed the taste test.

Maybe I'll eventually remember to take pictures before we eat it all.


  1. I almost never get a picture of the finished dish. Are you kidding? With all that yummy gooey cheese who would be thinking of their camera?

  2. did it satisfy the craving ?

  3. Thanks for your comments! Yes Angie, there was plenty of cheese to satisfy the craving, although it was a little on the doughy side -- next time I'll barely cook the rice pasta to begin with. But definitely worth repeating.