Wanting to make a baked gluten free version of mac & cheese, I thought logically and started writing down what I would need. Brown rice pasta (the ONLY one I use!)… check. Substitute regular flour for the white sauce… Check (after a little research, in which I found several options!) Crumb topping… check, and easy: I keep a stash of GF bread crumbs in the freezer.
To replace the regular flour I used sweet rice flour, popular in Asian cooking and known for it’s gelatinous properties.
Next step was adjusting the cooking for the pasta. I added it to salted boiling water, let it come back to the boil, and then cooked it for only 2 minutes. I turned off the heat and set a timer for the remainder of the 7 minute cooking time. While I got on with the cheese sauce, the pasta was cooked perfectly!
The photo directly above is of the completed white sauce, before the cheese. While in my excitement I forgot to take a picture of the finished cheese sauce, you can see by the very next photo – just how gooey & cheesy it was; using a combo of grated cheddar and mozzarella.
If I seem enthralled with individual portions… it’s because I am. Everybody loves having their very own – no matter what’s being served. It’s also a great way keep a handle on leftovers… simply pop a bit of kitchen wrap on each one, and store in the fridge.
Another great thing about separate portions is the fun of customizing them! Take these mac n cheese; some might not want any crumb topping, some might want extra cheese on top and some might want a big shot of heat!
The end result is this unbelievably tasty & satisfying… yes, even the texture… GF Baked Mac ‘n Cheese!
ps Reheating the leftovers was another successful experiment: I added a splash of milk, put them in a steamer insert on top of boiling water and covered it for 10 minutes. Best ever (as well as only…) success with leftover GF pasta!
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sweet rice flour
- 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- *1 teaspoon good quality mustard (optional)
- 1 cup grated cheese (I used half cheddar & half mozzarella)
- 2 cups GF pasta (brown rice recommended)
- **1/4 cup approx. GF bread crumbs, crisped in 2 teaspoons olive oil (optional, but adds a lot of texture)
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Butter or spray 4 - 6 1-cup ramekins (for bigger or smaller portions) and set on baking sheet.
- Put the pasta water on to boil.
- Heat olive oil in small sauté pan, stir in GF crumbs, cooking for a couple minutes. Set aside.
- In small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Whisk in flour, cook for 3 - 4 minutes, until starts to thicken and dry out.
- Quickly whisk in 1/4 cup of the milk, making sure there’s no lumps.
- Whisk in remaining milk, cook for about 5 minutes, whisking until thickened.
- Season with 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt & 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Stir in the grated cheese, and mustard if using.
- Add pasta to boiling water, stirring and bring back to boil for 2 minutes only - then turn off the heat. Cover and let sit for 7 minutes. (Time to have pasta & sauce ready at same time).
- Drain pasta (saving approx. 1/4 cup cooking water) and leaving a bit of water clinging. Return to pot to mix immediately with the cheese sauce (if it's now too thick, add a little pasta water to thin it).
- Spoon into prepared ramekins, top with some grated cheese, and GF bread crumbs, if using.
- Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, until bubbling and brown on top.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Tip: if you're fast in the kitchen start the pasta first - but only if it doesn't sit too long waiting for the cheese sauce. Better to have the sauce waiting for the pasta!