Mac and cheese is literally THE best food. EVER. Full stop. No need to say more. You can enjoy it rich, creamy and luxurious; or, cheap, gooey and yellow AF and it still makes you feel like you're getting a big, warm cheesy hug. ULTIMATE comfort.
However, if you're a coeliac or gluten-free you either haven't had this opportunity or you've missed out on it since your carb-eating days. My good friend Ellie (check her out over at Healthy Living Ellie) is a coeliac, which means she is allergic to gluten and it can be very serious, if not fatal. This means that whenever we have big get-togethers, meals or movie nights, she usually brings her own food or we try to make something gluten free, which usually stumps everyone.
We recently got together to work on some recipes which were gluten free and suitable for everyone to enjoy. We both came up with a variety of ideas which we will be bringing you over the next few weeks. This recipe is one where I asked the question "if I was coeliac, what would be the thing I could no longer have and really miss" - the most gluten filled and hearty dish possible: mac and cheese.
I initially thought this was going to be such a challenge, but it was actually really simple and incredible! Honestly, if you never told me it was gluten-free, I wouldn't have known. The best thing, Ellie had this great idea to make breadcrumbs out of blended GF Cornflakes and it is a GAME CHANGER! So if you're entertaining and a coeliac is coming for dinner, bake up this comforting dish and everyone will be content!
Top tips before starting:
I use Sainsbury's Gluten Free Macaroni. It's inexpensive, tastes great and cooked in about 3-4 minutes - so do keep your eye on it and make sure not to overdo it!
I also used Dove's Gluten Free Self Raising flour to make my roux. This usually take a bit more liquid than normal flower, so keep stirring when you make the sauce and add the milk little by little. Top tips on making a roux can be found here.
If you're not a fan of blue cheese DO NOT PANIC. Trust me when I say, this does NOT taste like blue cheese, the flavour balances out with the salty pancetta and dry pasta to make it unbelievably good. If you are a proper scaredy-cat, use a strong cheese such as Parmesan or Extra Mature Cheddar instead but I urge you not to! This recipe was adapted from my best ever mac recipe, which is Lorraine Pascal's Glam Mac & Cheese.
Gluten Free Mac & Cheese
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Preheat oven to 200 degrees
Special Equipment Needed:
Blender (to blitz the cornflakes)
500g GF Macaroni
1 pack Dolcelatte/Gorgonzola
50g GF Flour
Milk (roughly 1 ½ pint)
Salt and Pepper
50g GF Cornflakes (blitzed into crumbs)
1 pack Pancetta (Cubed - around 250g)
Spray Olive Oil
Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions - it only takes about 4 minutes to cook al-dente
Drain the pasta and toss through a couple of spritz of olive oil so it doesn't stick together and transfer into a casserole dish
In a small frying pan, fry off the pancetta until it is golden and crispy. Mix this through the pasta
Now make the cheese sauce: melt the butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in the flour to make a roux. The flour and butter mixture should be bubbling to cook off the flour. Once it looks a sandy texture, add the milk bit by bit and keep stirring to make a smooth white sauce. You can decide the thickness of your sauce and if you keep cooking down the sauce it will get thicker, then you can add a touch more milk. Some mustard and seasoning are great to add at this point (just remember to taste as you go!)
Add the dolcelatte to the sauce and allow it to melt in
Add half of the grated cheese to the sauce also, taste and add salt & pepper to your preference (remember the pancetta in the pasta will be quite salty so don't overdo it!)
Mix the sauce through the pasta so it's fully combined
Top the pasta with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for 20 mins at 200 degree until the crumb is crisp and golden
Enjoy! This is big, rib-sticking and hearty so you may get a lot more portions out of it than stated or use it as meal prep for through the week. You can always make it super decadent by using cream or more pancetta. Whatever you do, you will find yourself dreaming of cheesy greatness and longing for it on your next comfort eating spell!
Psst, Ellie is so great at Food Photography so big shout out again to her for the professional pictures - make sure you check her out and remember, anyone can cook!