Barbecue Mac & Cheese

A Barbecue Mac and Cheese you just gotta try!

Barbecue Mac and Cheese Spicy "Curtis' Southern Style All American Barbecue Sauce" gives this Mac & Cheese its subtle BBQ kick. Best of all, our Mac & Cheese is actually healthier then most because the recipe uses low fat (2%) milk, unsalted butter, optionally Cabot's 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese (which can easily be found in your local supermarket), gluten free pasta shells, frozen peas, organic broccoli, and gluten free bread crumbs. If you prefer a Spicy & HOT Mac & Cheese, then you can substitute the 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar with Cabot's HOT Habanero Cheddar. Either way you make it, mild, spicy, or spicy & hot, this baked Barbecue Mac and Cheese is always delicious. We often eat it the next day cold or fried, and the left-overs never last more than two days before they're eaten!

Ingredients-

  • 3-1/2 to 4 C. uncooked gluten free macaroni shells
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 small to medium size white onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3/4 C. low fat (2%) milk
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 (10 oz.) box frozen baby peas, thawed (optional)
  • 1 head of organic broccoli, cut into florets (optional)
  • 2 C. (8 oz. bar) Cabot 50% Less Fat Sharp Light Cheddar, grated. Or, 2 C. (8 oz. bar) Cabot Habanero or Pepper Jack Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1/4 C. finely grated Parmesan
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 C. Mild or Spicy Curtis' Southern Style Barbecue Sauce
  • Gluten free bread crumbs

Preparation-

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and stir in macaroni. Cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente. Drain in a large colander (do not rinse or refrigerate), and set aside in a large steel bowl.

While pasta is cooking wash and chop broccoli into florets. Bring a medium pot filled 1/2 full of water to boil. Add broccoli florets and cook for 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook broccoli. Better a little under-cooked then over-cooked. Drain and set aside.

Stir together milk and cornstarch in a large bowl or measuring cup.

In a large sauce pan melt butter over medium heat, add onion and cook until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Give milk and cornstarch a quick stir and add to sauce pan. Whisk sauce until boiling. Depending on your stove, you may need to increase the heat and decrease the heat once sauce begins to boil. Continue to cook sauce, whisking, until thickened, about 2-5 minutes. Stir in peas and salt, then pour into pasta and mix.

Add barbecue sauce, broccoli, cheese, Parmesan, and black pepper to taste to pasta and sauce and mix.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease with butter an 8x8 inch baking dish. Add pasta mix to baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes.

Notes-

What's great about this recipe is that you can vary the ingredients to your liking. If you don't like spice or hot flavors, then use a milder cheddar. If you like your food very spicy or very hot & spicy, you can use the Hot Habanero Cheddar (or Pepper Jack if you can't locate the Habanero), a bit of hot sauce, and more black pepper.

If you can't find gluten free pasta shells or gluten free bread crumbs in your local market, certainly your favorite brand of pasta shells or bread crumbs will work nicely as an alternative.

Lastly, it's important to not overcook the pasta or broccoli, and do not bake the mac & cheese for more than 25 minutes in a pre-heated oven, otherwise the pasta will be dry and chewy. Pea and broccoli are optional.