Let's face it, who doesn't enjoy good ole comfort food from time to time? I bet it is safe to say that Mac n' Cheese ranks right up there on the top of the list of comfort foods loved by all ages. But, what if you are having to work around food allergies and sensitivities? Dairy, egg, wheat, gluten, soy to name a few. Well, my youngest reworked Emeril's Mac n' cheese and created a version that omits all of the above.
Subsititions are in parenthesis.
Em's Mac n' Cheese
6 TBS unsalted butter (we use Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks)
1/2 lb elbow macaroni (we use Tinkyada, gluten free/wheat free)
6 TBS all-purpose flour (Bob's Red Mill or Pillsbury gluten free)
3 cups whole milk (sub coconut milk)
1 tsp salt (we prefer sea salt)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups grated Cheddar, about 6 ounces (we use Daiya shreds)
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs (Glutino, or Ian's GF Panko for a bit more crunch)
1 tsp Essence, recipe follows
Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 TBS paprika
2 TBS salt (again we prefer sea salt)
2 TBS garlic powder
1 TBS black pepper
1 TBS onion powder
1 TBS cayenne pepper
1 TBS dried leaf oregano
1 TBS dried thyme
***keep extra in a air tight jar or container for future use
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes (will vary depending on pasta used). Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.
Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the flour brown. Using a whisk, add the milk in a steady stream and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and smooth, 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, and 2 cups of the cheese, and stir well. Add the noodles and stir well. Pour into the prepared dish.
In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese with the bread crumbs and Essence. Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes (we found it took a little longer with the Daiya cheese).
Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.