There are many dishes that have earned their place at the Thanksgiving table. The menu seemed etched permanently into stone. It is Thanksgiving, these are the set list of dishes we eat. Guess my surprise when I learned that my husband’s family had the audacity to serve a few different dishes? Outrageous. I kid, but the realization I had last year that I could set my own Thanksgiving menu when I hosted my mom and sister for Thanksgiving was astounding.
First thing up on my menu? Macaroni and cheese. What’s not to love about the comforts of hot cheese and pasta? And bonus, it appeals to the littles. (Maybe they would actually eat more than a roll??) But of course, this would need to be both gluten-free and fool-proof. There is no way I was going to anger my sister by changing the Thanksgiving template and then have something go wrong.
First, we go to the source
Have you heard about seriouseats.com? My best friend introduced me to the site, and to say I am impressed is an understatement. Their recipes are solid, and I think Kenji Lopez-Alt is a genius. (And a great children’s author – my daughter loves his book Every Night is Pizza Night).
Kenji has a fantastic 3-ingredient stovetop mac and cheese recipe that I started with. On experimentation, I added a few things.
My Go-To Mac and Cheese That Fills my Belly with Thanksgiving Joy
16 oz gluten free pasta (Banza cavatappi is my favorite)
12 oz evaporated milk
16 oz fresh shredded cheese (yes, buy the block and shred it yourself – the pre-shredded stuff contains anti-caking agents that ruin cheese sauce. It makes a HUGE difference.)
Dash of mustard powder
Trader Joe’s Mushroom Powder – let your heart guide you
Salt and pepper to taste
Shred the cheese (yes seriously, shred it yourself.) Add the pasta to a pot. Add water to just cover the pasta. Bring to a boil. Cook until the pasta absorbs the water. Immediately stir in the evaporated milk and cheese. Add mustard powder, mushroom powder, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Pro tip – I have heard (from previously mentioned best friend) that adding citric acid makes the sauce more stable and smoother, especially if you are not serving immediately.