Mac n Cheese is such a staple comfort food, and one I haven’t eaten in a very long time since going gluten free and dairy free. For some reason the urge struck me this evening, and I started playing around with recipes tonight to see what I could come up with.
I have been working on developing a set of percentages to follow for mixing up gluten free flour mixes. All purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheats, making it suitable for most general purposes. If you are making a lot of cake or bread you probably want to buy flours blended just for those products, but all purpose will take care of most of your needs. Not so for gluten-free flour blends. I have found that the terms “all purpose” and “gluten free” generally don’t go together. Pie crusts need a flakier texture than pizza crusts, bread needs more protein and pancakes need more starch. Since a good baked macaroni starts with a bechamel sauce, I began by blending a Sauce Flour mix.
Sauce Flour Blend (Mach 1): 40% sorghum, 20% quinoa flour, 20% chickpea, 10% fine rice flour, 10% tapioca.
I found this to be a bit grainy, so I will reduce the fine rice flour in Mach 2.
Since I had black rice noodles from the Asian market in my cabinet and had just bought some Monterey Jack cheese (yes, I’m using dairy in this one. Let me get the sauce right before I make another set of substitutions!) I decided to make ‘black n white mac n cheese’.
I used my Sauce Flour Blend to make a basic bechamel sauce – a little oil in a saute pan, a tablespoon of flour sprinkled over it and cooked it into a blonde roux. I used almond/coconut milk for the dairy in the sauce, and added sea salt, freshly grated nutmeg, white pepper, and powdered ginger.
After cooking the noodles, I grated 2 ounces of cheese into the strained sauce and then poured it back over the noodles, placing it in a small casserole dish for baking. I topped it with ground puffed millet and rice cereals for an ‘au gratin’ topping.
I like it. It isn’t my final version, but for a first pass, it looks cool, tastes good, and the cheese is evenly distributed. I’m going to keep working on the Sauce Flour Blend to get that perfected and then start working on variations that become creamy without using cheese.