Mac & cheese is the ultimate comfort food. While cooking for a personal chef client of mine who was also lactose-intolerant (in addition to Celiac), I discovered the joys of working with goat butter and goat milk. All goat and sheep milk products are naturally lactose-free. Goat cheese mac & cheese was a reoccurring dish for his menus. In this version, I spiffed it up a bit with sweated shallots and chopped Italian parsley. No, no orange food coloring in this version to make it "cheesier". I used my favorite Italian corn pasta made by Le Veniziane. The taste, texture, and appearance of Le Veniziane proves to be the best time after time for me. I start by making a roux with goat butter and potato starch while sweating the shallots. Do not be tempted to use tapioca starch, the texture turns snotty. Make the base cheese sauce using goat milk and any goat cheeses of your choice. I used goat cheddar with a small amount of smoked goat cheese. Do NOT used fresh goat cheese aka cherve. It can impart a chalky texture. For the topping, I love to process instant mashed potato flakes with melted goat butter and seasonings. Such a delight, I promise you will never long for breadcrumbs. Ever. Again.
Now that I'm single and minding my portions with more awareness, I really like the idea of portioning out the six servings into individual ramekins. I only baked one in a toaster oven for myself, covered the remaining ramekins and split between the fridge and freezer. Either way, just pop them into the toaster oven to bake off for easy weeknight dinner or for visiting friends for dinner. Makes cleanup way easier, too. And using the toaster oven saves energy and time. I feel toaster overs are underrated. In my mind, they are adult Easy-Bake ovens. I hope you make and enjoy this recipe!
- 1 package (9 oz) of Le Veneniane Pipe Rigate or other GF pasta of your choice
- 45 grams (~1.5 tablespoons) goat butter
- 45 grams (~1.5 tablespoons) potato starch
- 1 medium shallot chopped fine
- seasonings to taste: salt, white pepper, nutmeg, garlic powder, cayenne
- 2 cups of goat milk (whole or low fat)
- 8 oz of firm goat cheese(s) of your choice, grated (cheddar types work the best)
- 1/4 bunch of fresh parsley leaves chopped fine
- Topping: 1 cup instant mashed potato flakes + 2 tablespoons goat butter + seasonings as above
Heat up a large sauce pan over medium to low heat. Add in the goat butter and potato starch, stir continuously with a whisk. Once the butter has melted, add in the chopped shallots. Keep on whisking. Once the shallots have become transparent and roux is barely golden in color, remove from heat.
At this time, also get a large pot of salted water boiling for the pasta. Boil the pasta shy of the time instructed on package. We want the pasta more on the firm side of al dente since it will cook more in the oven. Strain and put aside with a small reserve of the pasta water if needed to loosen up the sauce.
Heat up the goat milk in the microwave for 2 minutes. Turn the roux back to the lowest heat. Slowly pour in the heated goat milk with constant and thorough whisking. Once incorporated, turn up the heat to low-medium. The bechamel sauce should thicken up and come to a slight boil after a couple of minutes. Don't forget to stir constantly for no clumps. Turn the heat down again to low and add in all the goat cheese(s) at once. It will take a few minute for it to incorporate with stirring. Then add in the chopped parsley. Taste the sauce for seasonings and adjust as needed.
Add in the pasta to now what is the mornay cheese sauce. Use a large wooden/silicone spoon to fold the pasta and sauce together until evenly distributed. If it is really thick, add in a little of the reserved pasta water as needed. Divide up the mac & cheese amongst 6 ramekins. In a mini food processor: grind the potato flakes with the seasoning until the texture is fine. Add in the melted goat butter and pulse until uniform. Top all the mac & cheeses with this topping. If not cooking immediately, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in freezer or fridge. Cook uncovered in a 375F oven for 15 minutes or until the topping is a golden brown.
The Sensitive Epicure
This is part of Food Network's Comfort Food Fest. Check out The FN Dish. The comfort food we're focusing on here is comforting grilled cheese. Here are other delicious recipes to help keep you warm:
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Grilled Cheese With Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Cooking With Elise: Inside-Out Grilled Cheese With Bacon
Red or Green?: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Red or Green-Style
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Weelicious: Kentucky Hot Brown Panini
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Cheddar, Apple and Arugula Sandwich
Devour: Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese
Thursday Night Dinner: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
The Heritage Cook: Open Faced Grilled Halloumi Sandwiches
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Muhammara Grilled Cheese
Daily*Dishin: Grilled Jarlsberg and Black Forest Ham With a Surprise
FN Dish: Grilled Cheese Goes Beyond Cheese
Feed Me Phoebe: Mexi Grilled Cheese With Avocado, Pepper Jack and Refried Black Beans