Who doesn’t love a bowl of warm from the oven macaroni and cheese? If you raised your hand, read on. If you prefer chocolate, stay tuned.
The original recipe we used for years was from The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas. Our copy was an early edition and it looks like it – no binding left and the pages are splattered with spills and ink. Over the years we evolved the recipe to suit our family – shallots instead of onions, and multiple kinds of really sharp cheeses. It’s probably the first scratch dish we taught our kids how to make in those way back days.
When we became gluten-free and before dairy-free we just changed out GF flour for the roux and it worked quite well.
But these days we have to think up ways to bypass the cow dairy and still make the dish as tasty as we remember. Life without mac and cheese is just not right. Enter the little goat. For those who have a sensitivity to cow’s milk, sometimes goat is the answer. In moderation, it is for us. And since there are so many new goat cheeses at the market, it became simple to remake the dish using everything goat.
But we’ve evolved the dish again to make it even easier to prepare than the original recipe while using all goat milk products,goat kefir, chevre, hard goat cheeses plus plenty of seasoning.
Goat kefir is beginning to be easy to locate, but you might have to look a little bit to find it. Just in case, regular kefir will work, too. For the best flavor, use a few different types of goat cheese including the hardest, sharpest one you can find – it might look a lot like Romano. Safeway carries many different goat cheeses now (they didn’t a few years ago) so it’s easy to round those up without looking everywhere for special ingredients.
Because pasta (and especially GF pasta) soaks up the liquid, err on the side of too much cheese sauce when you mix up the dish before baking. By the time it bakes and then if you reheat leftovers, you will be glad you made it a little extra saucy.
- 10 to 12 ounces GF pasta (shells, elbows)
- 720 grams goat kefir (3 cups)
- 120 grams soft herbed goat cheese, crumbled (4 ounces)
- 120 grams semi soft goat cheese such as Gouda, cubed (4 ounces)
- 100 grams hard, sharp aged goat cheese, grated (3.5 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 small twig of fresh thyme or chive (optional decorative topping before serving)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 1 ½ or 2 quart deep casserole pan with nonstick spray. Cook pasta according to package directions until it is slightly under done but soft to the bite.
- In a large saucepan gently heat kefir and add the soft and semi-soft goat cheese along with the salt, peppers, garlic powder and nutmeg. Heat over a very low flame, and stir until the cheeses are mostly melted and few lumps remain. Add half the hard, sharp grated cheese to the mixture and stir until melted. Drain pasta and stir into kefir mixture. Expect it to be soupy at first – once baked, the pasta will absorb most of the liquid. Pour mixture into prepared casserole pan. Top with remaining grated cheese. Bake 30-40 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling in the center and the top has formed a dark golden brown crust. Cool about 5 minutes (if you can wait) and serve. Top with a thyme twig or chive, if using. Makes 4 generous servings or 6 side servings.