Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mac n Cheese- Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

Wow- Elishia's kitchen has been an amazing place for recipes. I have a friend coming to visit who is dairy-free, so I wanted to have a nice dish for her. So I turned to Elishia's blog, once again, for some help. Here is her recipe for Mac n Cheese- gluten-free and dairy-free.

Cooking time: 20 minutes, not including making the almond milk
serves: 3-4
3/4 pkg Tinkyada brand fusilli brown rice pasta, you could also use elbows or penne, but I prefer fusilli for this recipe
2 tablespoons ghee (olive or grape seed oil will work too)
1/2 of a small yellow onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons Quinoa flour
1 cup thick homemade almond milk  (recipe follows)
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 pinch of dried thyme, crush it between your fingers as you add it
1/8 teaspoon turmeric, or a good pinch
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon of a quality sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Boil pasta according to instructions on package. Don’t over cook it! Drain, rinse briefly and toss with one tablespoon of olive or grapeseed oil. You’ll want to use the pasta while it’s still hot, so to time it out so that you’ll have the sauce ready you’ll want to start the sauce just after adding the pasta to the water.
  2. To make the sauce: In a saucepan gently warm the ghee and add the onion, cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and keep cooking 2 more minutes
  3. Add the quinoa flour and stir continuously with a wooden spoon for 3-4 minutes, until the color darkens just slightly.
  4. Begin adding the almond milk about 1/4 cup at a time, each time stir until it is thoroughly combined. As the sauce thins, begin to use a whisk to incorporate the almond milk. Once it’s all been added then whisk it for a minute over medium heat to make sure that no lumps remain.
  5. Add the nutmeg, thyme, turmeric, nutritional yeast and salt. Continue to cook for a few minutes, until the sauce bubbles and begins to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
  6. In a large bowl toss together the pasta and the sauce. Grind a little fresh pepper on top and serve immediately. Although the rest of what I made was eaten out of the fridge cold (not mentioning names), and got rave reviews that way too.
Kitchen notes: Recipe easily doubles. Just don’t double the salt, turmeric or nutmeg, add the amount called for here and add more to your taste. Add the turmeric in tiny pinches till the color is appealing. If you have extra sauce it can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. To re-heat put a 1/4 cup of water or almond milk in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add in the cold sauce a few spoonfuls at a time, whisk to combine. Keep over medium low heat, whisking frequently, until heated through and serve immediately.
Almond milk: Soak one cup of almonds overnight. Drain and place in a blender with 3 cups of water. Blend 2 minutes on high speed. Strain through a mesh strainer or a cheesecloth. Squeeze out as much of the milk as you can. You can re-use the leftover almond pulp to make a 2nd batch of almond milk if you like, but it will not be thick enough for this recipe, so keep them separate.
CHEF’S NOTE: Buy yourself a nut milk straining bag. This $5 item is available at most health food stores and on amazon.  It makes an already easy process about 10 times easier and you’ll be able to get way more almond milk from the pulp. You can use a kitchen strainer and push the almond milk through with the back of a spoon or use cheesecloth.
PS. Several people have already asked me if you can use the almond milk from the box and get the same result. Sorry, the answer is no. That almond milk is very thin and will not produce a creamy sauce. You’re skipping the cheese for goodness sake – you will have to add in elbow grease instead.

*I used spelt instead of quinoa flour. I made the almond milk in a Soyabella. (Great investment if you are prone to making your own soy or raw nut milks). I used the whole package of pasta and increased the nut milk a bit.

**Great dish. We needed a bit more salt to bring out the flavors. Everyone gave it a thumbs up. I can't wait to see what my friend thinks!

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