Since going milk free years ago, I made up this recipe for Macaroni and Cheese, in fact this is the cheese sauce I use all the time for other casseroles, which use a Bechamel  or white sauce as well.  The key is to find a neutral tasting, unsweetened Soy, Hemp, or Rice Milk.  I have never used Rice or Hemp, - Hemp does not agree with me at all, so we have always stuck to Soy Milk.  The most neutral tasting soy milk I have found is Natura, Unsweetened Brand.  This sauce is great over vegetables too. I have actually had people tell me they thought I used regular milk.  Depending on the casserole, you can use different seasonings to add in extra flavor to this sauce.  Although penne is a nice pasta, my favorite are the Brown Rice Spirals.  Sometimes for Macaroni and Cheese I also add in tomatoes - just drain a 14oz. can of chopped tomatoes mixed in at the end and lightly heated through.

1 Pkg. Tynkiada Brown Rice Penne or Spiral Pasta
2 ½ cups soy milk
4 Tblsp. Of butter
2 large finely minced shallots
4 finely minced garlic cloves
2 heaping tsp. Dijon Mustard
salt and pepper
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 Parmesan cheese
½ cup soy milk
one 14 oz. can of drained chopped tomatoes, optional
Cook the pasta until eldente or less as it will continue to cook in the oven.
In a saucepan, melt the butter on low heat.  Add the minced shallots and garlic, stirring occasionally.  Let simmer on a low heat about 5 minutes until the flavors have infused.  Mix in the Dijon mustard, salt and pepper adding in the Soy milk, stirring to combine.  Meanwhile, to the other ½ cup of soy milk, add about 3 Tblsp. Of cornstarch to make a slurry – making it somewhat on the thick side.
Turn the heat up to medium high, and once simmering add the cornstarch slurry, stirring well until thickened.  Then turn the heat to minimum, and add the grated cheddar cheese, stirring until melted.  Remove from the heat, and add the Parmesan cheese.
Combine the pasta and cheese sauce in a casserole dish, mixing well, add another good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top, and bake covered  in the oven at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Ina Gawne

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November 27, 2010