Prior to being diagnosed with coeliac disease, I used to make macaroni cheese a lot, as it’s one of Neil’s favourite meals. However, after I was diagnosed, I felt that making a cheese sauce with cornflour – as I do for cauliflower cheese – wasn’t great for a macaroni cheese, so I just stopped making it. For whatever reason, it never occurred to me at the time to simply use gluten free flour instead.
Thankfully, a few years ago the penny dropped, and I discovered that I could make the most delicious macaroni cheese, entirely gluten free! Neil’s delighted, and so am I.
I love the process of making macaroni cheese. I think it’s the bechamel sauce that does it for me. There’s something quite magical, how such a lovely silky, oh so tasty sauce, comes together splendidly with such basic ingredients. Making a bechamel also fondly reminds me of my teenage years spent at catering college.
Here’s how I make my gluten free macaroni cheese…
Ingredients (Enough for 3-4 hungry people)
150g (6oz) gluten free macaroni (I tend to use Sainsbury’s or Tesco)
75g (3oz) unsalted butter
110g (4oz) gluten free plain/all purpose flour
750ml milk (I use semi skimmed)
1-2 teaspoons *Dijon mustard
300g (11oz) tasty mature cheddar, grated
Ground *pepper to taste
Tomatoes, any shape and size you fancy, to either half or slice and pop on the top before baking
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6/180C Fan.
Cook the gluten free macaroni in a large pan of boiling water. Using boiling water from the kettle speeds things up.
I tend to only stir the pasta a few times: firstly, as soon as I add it to the pan, then a few minutes later and then about 5 minutes after it’s been cooking. I find this prevents the gluten free pasta from breaking down. Cook the macaroni al dente (firm when bitten without being hard or chalky) and then drain.
Whilst the pasta is cooking, gently melt the butter in a large pan. I like to use a stainless-steel pan to make a bechamel as it takes more rough and tumble when using a whisk.
Once the butter has melted, tip in the gluten free flour and whisk.
Continue to whisk for a few moments, then start adding the milk, a little at a time.
After each addition of milk, whisk the mixture until it’s nice and smooth, before adding more milk. It will seem rather thick when you first start out.
If you feel the sauce is getting the upper hand and starts going lumpy, remove it from the heat for a moment and vigorously whisk until smooth.
Continue to whisk once all the milk has been added and bring the sauce to a gently boil. I like to have a taste test at this point, to ensure the flour has been cooked out. If it’s a little ‘grainy’ or if there is an obvious taste of flour, then cook out for longer.
Add 1 teaspoon of mustard to the sauce, I like to add lots of pepper at this stage too.
Next add the cheese, reserving enough to sprinkle over the top later. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your liking with additional mustard and pepper. I don’t tend to add salt, as I feel there’s enough flavour going on already.
Transfer the cooked macaroni into large ovenproof dish (the one I used measured 10 x 8 inches, depth 1.5 inches) and pour over the sauce and stir through the macaroni. Mix in the pan if you prefer, and then transfer into the dish.
Sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese, top with sliced tomatoes and finish with a good few twists of cracked pepper.
Slip the macaroni cheese into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, bubbling and piping hot.
I like to leave macaroni cheese to stand for a about 10 minutes before dishing out. Enjoy!
Recipe notes and suggestions:
Macaroni cheese is at its ultimate yumminess when freshly made. However, should you want to rustle it up ahead of time, once cooled, and before you scatter over the remaining cheese, it can be covered and stored in the fridge for a couple of hours. Top with cheese and sliced tomatoes when you’re ready to bake it.
I’m a fan of adding a generous forkful of sauerkraut to my portion of macaroni cheese. I find the texture and yummy tang of sauerkraut, cuts through the richness of the cheese sauce perfectly. A crisp salad would be great too!
As always, this recipe is now yours to do what the heck you like with it. Hope you enjoy adding in your favourite gluten free mustards, cheese, cracked pepper, to allow you to capture the exact flavour you’re after!
Thanks for checking out my gluten free macaroni cheese recipe. Let me know if you give it a go. And as always, I’m here if you have any questions.
*Check this product to ensure there are no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable’ warnings on the pack.