Gluten/Wheat Free Vegetable Macaroni Cheese

This is a derivative of a Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal recipe. We like it because its quick to make (it does only take about 30 minutes), it doesn’t create too much washing up (and most of it can be cleared up whilst its cooking) and the cheese sauce (made with creme fraiche) is much simpler than a traditional cheese sauce.

You’ll need:

  • The oven on at about 180C;
  • A kettle of boiling water;
  • A pan large enough to cook the pasta and the vegetables at the same time;
  • A deep tray about 8inches x 12 inches (or larger depending on how much you are making);
  • A food processor to grate the cheese and blitz the bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon per person (the original recipe says pancetta but we’ve found that bacon does just as well – the cheap bacon is perfectly fine);
  • 75 gm Gluten Free pasta per person (macaroni or something like that);
  • 40 – 50 gm cheddar cheese per person;
  • 1 – 2 slices of Gluten Free bread per person;
  • Vegetables (we use all sorts, cauliflower, peas, sweetcorn, sprouts, cooked carrots). They need to be the sort that will cook in about 10 minutes. They’ll be boiled for about 5-6 minutes with the pasta and then cooked in the oven for a further 10 minutes or so;
  • 50 gm creme fraiche per person;
  • Garlic (as much as you like);
  • The leaves of a a few sprigs of Rosemary;
  • Optionally some parmesan cheese to serve (we don’t usually bother)

Cooking Instructions

Lay the slices of bacon in the tray and put it in the oven to cook (ideally you want it to crisp up so try not to pile the slices up on top of one another); Put the Pasta into the pan of boiling water and cook it according to the packet instructions until it has about 5 minutes to go);

Grate the cheese in the food processor and tip it out into a bowl; Cut the vegetables up into bite sized pieces (we eat this with just a fork from a pasta bowl so everything needs to be cut up small enough to not need any further cutting; When there’s about 5 minutes left for the pasta, add the vegetables to the boiling water to cook them;

Take the (now crispy) bacon out of the oven and put the tray on a hot plate at a low heat; Fit the standard blade to the food processor and blitz together the bread, rosemary, garlic and bacon (you might find it best to cut the bacon up a bit before you blitz it) until they make fine breadcrumbs (the rosemary probably won’t chop up but that’s fine, if you don’t like them in full sized leaves, cut them up before putting them in the food processor);

Reserve a large cup of the pasta/vegetable water; strain the vegetables/pasta and put them into the tray on the hotplate; add the creme fraiche, cheese and the reserved water to make a (fairly) sloppy mix (the pasta will absorb some of the water whilst its cooking further in the oven); spread the breadcrumb/bacon mixture over the top and put the whole thing in the oven for about 10 minutes until it seems to be cooked. If you’ve put enough water in, it should be bubbling around the edges but we find its good even if its a little dry.

Whilst its cooking in the oven, you’ll have time to wash-up all the bits and pieces so that when you’ve finished all you’ll have left to clean is the tray , the forks and dishes.

When its cooked, take it out of the oven and serve. There’s no way that you can make it look pretty in the dishes because its not a solid mass. Serve it all up and dump the tray in the washing-up bowl to soak (if you don’t it’ll be the devil to clean because the pasta/cheese mix will stick to the pan.

This again is one of those meals where nobody knows that its gluten free providing you use a decent gluten free pasta and reasonable bread so the gluten/wheat free amongst us don’t need to feel that we have to have a separate meal.

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About PelicanPlants

Growing tomatoes and other vegetables in a greenhouse and at an allotment.
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