I’ve been plotting this one for months. I wanted mac and cheese. I also wanted to maintain my “Green Gourmet Girl” status. But you know how I do…I like to mesh a healthy and foodie lifestyle. I’ll admit, I’ve seen healthier takes on mac and cheese. My friend Michelle does an impressive rustic skillet one with a creamy cashew base. It looks amazing but is out for me due to my nut allergies (I’m cursed). Then, I’ve seen the old school way my mom does her mac down to the nutmeg, gruyere and breadcrumb topping. I was trying to find some balance between the worlds. Then, I remembered cauliflower. You guys probably remember this cauliflower recipe I posted recently. You can use this often dismissed veggie as a cream base too, especially in soups. Thats when I had the idea to cut down on the cheese with the cauli puree. I decided I would still use some goat cheese and pecorino (sheep) since those are typically better on the belly. And gluten-free pasta of course. Then, because I can’t help myself, the spinach and chives made it into the dish since its impossible for me to make anything without something green! Recipe below!
GLUTEN-FREE MAC & CHEESE
2 16 oz portions gluten free pasta of your choice (I used 2 bags Tinkyada brown rice shells, go for pastas made out of brown rice or quinoa, rather than corn or wheat)
2 heads cauliflower, chopped into floret halves
1 shredded block of goat cheddar (even better if you can find smoked goat cheddar)
grated pecorino (sheep-based cheese)
3 large shallots, minced
several handfuls of spinach, chopped
chives, finely diced
organic vegetable or chicken stock
gluten free breadcrumbs (homemade or store bought, I like Gillians)
sea salt & pepper (I used white pepper but regular is fine)
TIP: Its realllllly good with hot sauce on it!
General Recipe (suggested in this order)
Preheat oven to 395. Toss your cut cauliflower and with EVOO, garlic salt, onion powder, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet (you will probably need 2) and roast until golden.
Cook your pasta according to package instructions. Don’t forget to rinse with cold water and strain in a colander afterwards. Remember, GF pasta can stick together otherwise.
Saute shallots in a saucepan with evoo and salt until caramelized. When your roasted cauliflower is done, add it to the pan and add some stock. Cook on low heat to soften the cauliflower. Add some onion powder, a little mustard powder, and lots of pepper. Turn off heat and take off burner. If you have a stick blender, use it to puree the cauliflower mixture right in the pan. If you have to use a regular blender you’ll need to wait for your mixture to cool a bit unless your blender is made for hot soups. You can go as chunky or pureed as you want. I chose to leave mine a little on the chunky side. When desired texture is achieved, taste it and salt if needed.
In a large mixing bowl combine cooked pasta, cauliflower puree, cooked shallots, chopped spinach, chives, and goat cheddar. Spread mixture into baking dishes (I suggest spreading a little oil with a paper towel to avoid sticking first). Top with more chives, a little more goat cheddar, pecorino, and GF breadcrumbs. Bake on 375 until breadcrumbs are browned, cheese is melted and warmed throughout.
Serves: This recipe made me 2 medium size rectangular Pyrex baking dishes, and a few little baby round ones for individual portions (pictured). Adjust accordingly.