Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Penne and Cheese Bake (Gluten-Free)

My marathon training has finally hit it's peak, and man, is my appetite feeling it. All I want is a carbohydrate or 10 in my belly, every second of the day.

Do I want half your sandwich? Sure, but first you need to take all that crap off the bread and then we have a deal.

Would I care for another serving of pasta? Uhh yeah, but a serving is too small. I'll take an additional three.

DO YOU SEE THAT?! It was so good it was gone too fast for it to even seem real. This recipe came from yet another cookbook that was neglected for sometime. This one Cooking Light put out, and it's their Gluten-Free Cookbook. We received it as a wedding gift, and I started out with a bang making recipes out of it after we were first married. Then it gradually faded away to join the other crying books until I yanked it out under the dust last week and finally cracked it open again.

What a good decision.

Naturally, there were kale chips involved. A nice, well-rounded (meaning it will make me rounded, balance schmalance) meal.

I used vanilla rice milk instead of regular milk because it's all we had on hand, and the taste was surprisingly very delicious. The vanilla taste was definitely present, but it made it seem almost creamier, and not in a weird I'm-eating-dessert way.

Let me know what you think! I'm sure you could throw in whatever veggies or protein you want to this. I would have done that...but that would take away my precious carbs, which just wouldn't do.

Penne and Cheese Bake (Gluten-Free)
Adapted from Cooking Light's Gluten-Free Cookbook

1 small onion, diced
12 oz. gluten-free penne (I used Trader Joe's) 
1/4 cup corn starch
4 cups milk, divided (as mentioned above, I used vanilla rice milk)

salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Put the pasta water on to boil. Since gluten-free noodles need frequent stirring while they cook and need to be mixed with sauce immediately after being drained to prevent them from sticking together, you will want this to be your final step before putting the casserole in the oven.

3. Heat some olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat; when it's heated, add the onion and saute until soft.

4. Add 3.5 cups milk to the onion in the pot and bring to a boil. Combine the corn starch and remaining 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl; gradually stir cornstarch mix into the boiling milk and stir constantly for about 2 minutes so the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.

5. Add salt, pepper and the cheeses and stir to thoroughly melt the cheese.

6. At this point, your pasta water should be boiling, so add in the noodles and stir frequently until just al dente. Drain and immediately stir into the cheese sauce.

7. Pour the pasta mix into the baking dish and cook for 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and the top is slightly browned.

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