Thursday, March 14, 2013

Freedom Pasta (cheese-free macaroni)

I have to admit that I'm quite proud of this recipe: it's tasty and versatile.  We've found that butter doesn't seem to bother us as much as cheese or milk... but if you're sensitive to dairy of any sort, simply substitute your favorite vegan spread and you're dairy free!  And while you're at it, swap out the chicken broth and replace it with vegetable broth and you've got yourself a vegan meal!  Serve over gluten free pasta and you've got yourself a peace treaty ;)

  • 1 stick of butter, cubed (1/2 c.)
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c. hummus
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. rice milk
  • 1/4 t. garlic powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • couple dashes of nutmeg
  • 4 c. unprepared macaroni (or any noodle pasta)
  1. Heat a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.  Add butter to pan and melt.
  2. When butter starts to bubble, add the pumpkin puree and stir until well combined.  For added depth/flavor, (if you want) you could wait until the butter starts to brown before adding the puree.  Just be careful not to let it burn!
  3. Simmer the pumpkin for a couple of minutes before adding the hummus.  Stir well and simmer for another minute.
  4. Carefully whisk in chicken broth and bring sauce to a simmer.
  5. Add rice milk and seasonings and whisk well.  Allow sauce to simmer until desired thickness/consistency.  Remove from heat and cover.
  6. While sauce simmers, fill a large stockpot full of water.  Add enough salt until water tastes salty.  Bring pot to a rolling boil.  Add pasta and a couple tablespoons of olive oil and stir.  Reduce heat to a gentle boil and cook pasta until done, but still firm.  Stir and taste noodles every few minutes for doneness.
  7. Remove from heat.  Drain cooked pasta and return to pot.  Add sauce and stir until well combined.  Serve warm.
If you're using gluten free pasta, be careful not to overcook or you'll end up with super mushy noodles that fall apart easily and end up resembling polenta.  But also be careful not to undercook the pasta, or else you'll have a crunchy bowl of noodles to munch.  Growing up in an Italian household, I've never prepared pasta according to the package.  I prefer to taste-test my noodles for doneness, and I always end up with perfect noodles, regardless its gluten content.  If your noodles are done before your sauce is, you can add them back to the pot and add a little more oil so they don't clump together.  Once your sauce starts to cool, you'll notice it thickens up real fast.  This is why it's best served warm; not because it tastes better or worse, it's simply a matter of thickness preference.

I've made this a few times now, and both free and captive (?) eaters love it!  We typically pan-fry some chicken sausage to throw in with the pasta, too...  And just FYI, my mother-in-law raved about this dish when she had it, even going so far as to say it's one of the best mac & cheese dish she's ever had.  And there's not even cheese in it!  It really is a satisfying dish full of flavor that everyone can enjoy!  *B

PS- This makes a HUGE batch of pasta, enough for four adults and two children (and maybe seconds for some).  So feel free to halve the recipe.  Or instead of tossing the sauce and pasta together you can spoon the sauce over individual servings of pasta.  Or make the sauce as is and freeze any sauce that you don't use and save it for next time!  Like I said, it's versatile ;)

No comments: