16 to 20 ounces small dried gluten free pasta (I used Barilla gluten free pasta elbows)
1 to 2 tablespoons (14 to 28 g) extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, chopped
1/3 cup (47 g) gum-free gluten free flour blend (31 grams superfine white rice flour + 10 grams potato starch + 6 grams tapioca starch/flour)
1 can (12 fluid ounces) low-fat evaporated milk
2 to 2 1/2 cups (16 to 20 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature (any kind, just not nonfat)
1 pound (16 ounces) semi-hard cheese, shredded (a mix of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses is nice, or all cheddar)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Boil the pasta in a large pasta pot to an al dente texture, according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, return it to the pasta pot and toss it with olive oil to prevent it from sticking together. Cover the pasta pot and set it aside.*
*Make ahead option: You can place the cooked pasta in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it out at room temperature for up to 8 hours before proceeding with the recipe.
To make the cheese sauce, melt the chopped butter in a medium-sized, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour blend and stir to combine well. The mixture will clump at first, and then smooth. This is the roux that will thicken the cheese sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has just begun to turn a very light brown color (about 2 minutes). Add the evaporated milk to the roux very slowly, stirring constantly to break up any lumps that might form. Add 2 cups of milk, and whisk to combine well. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by about one-quarter (about 7 minutes). The sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the grated cheese and mix to combine with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste, and the remaining milk a bit at a time if you like a thinner cheese sauce.
Pour the hot cheese sauce over the cooked pasta, and stir carefully to coat all of the pasta in the cheese sauce without breaking up the pasta at all. Serve immediately.
Originally published on the blog in 2014. Video and some photos are new, the recipe is unchanged.
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