Bow to the Queen of Carbs

Mac and Cheese to Die For

This is neither healthy, nor cheap, nor particularly quick. In fact I'm pretty sure that it's quite possibly the most unhealthy thing you can eat and one of the most expensive things I'll ever make. It is however dangerously tasty, so be careful who you share this with! Naturally, it makes enough to feed the entire Russian army. If the arms wants to fall into a serious food coma, that is. If you, however, are smarter than I am, you could halve this recipe. Please halve this. This made enough sauce for at least a pound and a half of pasta, if not two. And trust me, you do not want to make that much. I ended up freezing the remaining sauce, dubbing it "crack & cheese sauce". Ah, so fitting.

There are a lot of mac recipes out there, some using at least three ridiculously expensive specialty cheeses. I watch way too many cooking shows (I only have 7 or 8 channels) on public television and I'm always appalled at how expensive it would be to make the classic childhood favorite. Of course, the childhood favorite most of us remember comes from a blue box. I was the unfortunate sister of a boy who ate from that blue box almost every day. So I have mac issues--but this stuff is helping me get over it. See? The cost of this mac will negate those pesky psychotherapy fees and cure your childhood issues with siblings who eat terrible food from blue boxes. I'm such a pal.

Anyway, I use two cheeses, one is definitely specialty (gruyere), but you could probably bring down the cost by using medium white cheddar instead of extra sharp. If you also halve the recipe, you could probably make this for between $7-$9. Which ain't bad. Unfortunately, I made it for almost $20. Ouch. Oh, whatever. We can all live a little from time to time. I certainly don't want any pasta for like, the next month. At least. (And for that cost, I probably can't afford to...) Let's make this sucker!

You're gonna need some gluten free macaroni. You could break convention and make it with something else too. But I figure I couldn't call it mac & cheese if I make it with rotini.

Now you have a choice. You could make yourself some breadcrumbs or leave it out. Mac sans breadcrumbs cuts costs, but they're really a nice addition. I decided to try Karina's savory waffles and they worked beautifully. You could use any gf crumbs you wish, but please don't use cornflakes. That's just sacrilege.

After you make your waffles, you're going to cut them up and toast 'em up in the oven for awhile. I did mine for around 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees. Keep in mind they're not going to brown like regular bread. But they'll get nice and crisp and dried out. Which is what we want.

Now throw the toasted waffles into a food processor. Or a blender. Or stomp on 'em. Or whatever to make them like crumbs.

They'll look something like this. Hooray!

You'll need around a cup of them. The rest you can process and throw into a freezer bag for a later use. Please then put the freezer bag into the freezer. Just covering my bases.

Now while that's toasting, or after you're done processing, measure out a pound of pasta and throw it into some salted boiling water to cook. You should take it out a few minutes before it's done so that it won't be overcooked when we throw the whole shebang in the oven at the end.

Now we're going to start grating our cheese. I used pungent cheeses here, but as I mentioned before, I think you can get away with medium white cheddar.

Of the 2 lb chub (is that the right word?) I used this much...around 18 ounces or so. I'm not exactly exact. That made no sense.

My mac just got done. It's still a little crunchy. Perfect!

This is all the grated white cheddar. It looks like a huge amount, well, because it is. And this ain't a light version!

This is Gruyere. Which you know, because you can probably read. You need a strong flavored cheese. Well, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference if it wasn't strongly flavored, but I'm just going to pretend the previous statement is true. It's critical to my mental state.

This is also a lot of cheese. Keep hungry children and adults away from your cheese or bad things might happen.

Now grab a few tablespoons of butter and melt it in the microwave. I know people who don't believe in microwaves and I'm feeling bad for them at this moment. This butter, by the way, is Land o Lakes Tuscan Butter, which is basically butter plus garlic and herbs. I liked this flavored stuff here, but you can get the same effect by adding herbs and spices you want. Or just use plain butter. Whatever floats your boat or is in your fridge!

Mix the melted butter in with your bread crumbs and set aside. This will be divine when all is said, done, and poured.

Now grab some milk. Apparently I'm the only one who doesn't know that Vitamin D milk actually is whole milk. That's what I get for rarely eating dairy and pretty much never buying real milk.

Remember when I said this makes a ton of sauce? Well that's going to become apparent when you pour 5 1/2 cups of milk into a pan to warm. Then you'll wonder what you've gotten yourself into. And those floaties in the milk are from using the same spoon as the butter.

Now in another pan, melt 6 tablespoons or so of butter.

Don't forget to have your spices all nice and thrown together in a bowl! And don't skimp on the cayenne! You won't be able to taste any heat.

Anyway, when your butter starts bubblin', add the premixed flour, 1/2 cups at a time until you meld in the entire 2 cups.

Your roux will look like this. No worries--the butter will absorb it. You need the whole 2 cups!

You're going to incorporate the now warm milk into your roux, stirring until you can get all the lumps out. Now listen to me closely. You're going to stir this sucker until it starts to thicken and bubble. And you're going to think that it will never thicken. But leesten to me: it will thicken. I stirred mine for a good 15 or 20 minutes before it started to thicken up. Hallelujah.

When you're finally at the thick stage, contain your excitement and add all those spices.

Now begin adding the cheeses in stages. Reserve a little for the top of the casserole. It's essential I tell you!

See this glorious sauce? This is crack & cheese sauce. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Now dump your pasta in a bowl. A very large one. It's going to have some serious company.

Dump in half of the sauce. This will probably be enough to coat the mac and still have plenty of extra sauce to soak in.

Just like that. It looks GOOD!

Now grab a large casserole dish. I love Pyrex dishes. Which is why I have no room in my cupboards.

Pour in the pasta and sauce and cover the top with the reserved cheese.

Now throw those buttered breadcrumbs over the top. Throw it in the oven until the whole thing is bubbling and the breadcrumbs are golden brown and crispy. It took me around 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Hot from the oven! Beautiful isn't it? And it smells divine...

Way better than that crap from the box.

The smell can't compete with the taste. Please make this--halve this. It's a splurge worthy dish.

Mac & Cheese to Die For

1 cup gluten free bread crumbs
8 tbsp butter (1 stick), 2 for breadcrumbs
1 pound (16 oz) gluten free elbow pasta
18 oz sharp white cheddar
8 oz Gruyere cheese
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
5 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups gluten free flour mix (nothing sweet)

Prepare the gluten free breadcrumbs. Melt 2 tbsp of butter and mix with the crumbs and set aside. Cook pasta until a few minutes from being done. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking.

Grate the cheeses and prep the spices and throw in a convenient bowl. Pour milk into a large pan over medium heat to warm up. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 6 tbsp of butter in a large saucepan. When it bubbles, add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time until well combined. Remove milk from heat and slowly incorporate the milk, stirring out any lumps that appear. Stir continuously until mixture becomes thick and bubbles.

Add spices and slowly incorporate cheeses into mixture, reserving a bit for the top of the casserole. Remove sauce from heat when everything is well combined. In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta and about half the sauce, or enough to coat the pasta well. Pour pasta and sauce into a large casserole dish, topping with reserved cheese and the buttered breadcrumbs. Cook for 30 minutes until the pasta is hot and the topping is golden brown.
Reserve extra sauce for another use.

Serves 10-12 with enough sauce for an extra batch

GF Breadcrumbs $1.50
Gruyere $5.93
White Cheddar $6.75
Whole Milk $2
Spices ($.10)
Pasta $2
butter $.50

TOTAL=$18.78, $1.56 - $1.87
per serving (This doesn't include the leftover sauce)


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