You guys, we’ve all been making macaroni and cheese wrong our whole lives. Forget all-purpose flour. Mac and cheese comes out so much better using gluten-free flour.
I know, I was pretty shocked myself.
I’ve been cooking for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been making myself homemade stovetop mac and cheese at least since high school. (Seriously, why do people buy the boxed kind? Homemade takes the same amount of time and tastes roughly 83479237 times better. Also, no chemicals.) But I’ve always had a bit of trouble getting the bechamel (the butter-flour-milk sauce that is the base) to thicken properly. When I made the bechamel using gluten-free flour, however, the sauce thickened beautifully. Julia Child totes would have been proud, were she alive, and friends with me, and over my apartment. It’s probably the xanthan gum in the blend and not my skillz, but we don’t have to tell Julia that.
This has always been my go-to mac and cheese recipe, but this was the first time I adapted it to be gluten free. You can definitely make this with regular flour and pasta, but the gluten free version tastes and is textured the same, if not a bit better, than the regular kind. If you served this at a party, I guarantee no one would have any idea it’s gluten free. It’s not the least bit healthy, but it’s so good you won’t notice.
The great thing about this recipe is that it’s based on ratios, so it’s incredibly easy to adapt based on the amount of people you want to serve. The recipe as printed below is enough for 3 to 4 people, depending on your appetites, but the basic ratio is below it for your math purposes.
Gluten-free Macaroni and Cheese (or not)
8 ounces gluten-free pasta (I like Ancient Harvest quinoa-corn blend), in elbows, shells, or other small, bendy shape
2 tbsp salted butter
2 tbsp gluten-free flour blend
1 1/3 cups milk, set out at room temperature for at least 10 minutes (I use 1%)
2 cups shredded cheese (your choice, though I usually use a blend)
sriracha or other hot sauce
Set water to boil and prepare pasta as box instructs, cooking until al dente.
Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan big enough to hold your pasta. When butter is melted, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until it smells really good, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly pour in milk, stirring the whole time. Continue to stir, scraping the bottom of the pan, until bechamel sauce (this is what you just made, aren’t you fancy) has thickened, anywhere from 4 to 8 minutes. Add cheese and stir to melt. Add seasonings to your taste, keeping in mind that you want the sauce to taste a bit stronger than you think you’d like it, since the pasta will dilute it.
Add drained pasta to sauce and stir to combine. Divide into bowls and serve.
OPTIONAL FANCY ADDITION: Spread combined pasta and sauce in a baking dish. Combine gluten-free breadcrumbs and melted butter in a small dish until it resembles sand. Sprinkle this mixture on top of pasta, top with a bit more cheese, and stick under preheated broiler until breadcrumbs are golden and cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
Basic ratio: 1 tbsp flour + 1 tbsp butter + 2/3 cup milk +1 cup cheese = 1 serving of sauce