Kefir Mac & Cheese

This is a rich, indulgent spin on America’s favorite comfort food! I did my best to sub better ingredients (gluten free pasta, sprouted flour, grass-fed or fermented dairy) to keep it nutrient dense and easy to digest.

I tried a newly discovered pasta cooking method, where you add the pasta to cold water and heat it up. It really works! It uses less energy than boiling a pot first, then adding the pasta. And it saves time!

Adding kefir to the bechamel sauce gives it a cheesy aroma and a “head start”. In fact I “only” added three more cheeses because the kefir tasted like a mild fresh cheese in the final flavor.


Kefir Macaroni & Cheese
Prep time: 
Fermentation time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ pound dried rotini pasta (I used brown rice pasta)
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) unsalted pastured, grass-fed butter, plus more for greasing baking dish
  • 3 tablespoons sprouted wheat (or any kind) of flour, gluten free if desired
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz.) milk keifr
  • 3 fluid ounces heavy cream
  • 6-8 ounces by weight (200g) high quality, lighter colored soft cheeses (I used a variety like manchego, white raw cheddar and pecorino toscano (sheep's milk cheese)
  • 2 ounces of your favorite potato chips, fried in high quality fats like olive oil, lard, tallow, avocado oil or coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) white mustard powder
  • [Optional] ¼ cup salami, cooked bacon, pancetta or other cured meats, diced into ¼" pieces
Instructions
Make Macaroni
  1. Pour dry pasta in a heavy saucepot. Add just enough water to completely cover the pasta and add a heavy pinch of sea salt.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cooking pasta to al dente (1-2 minutes less than you'd normally cook it), about 15 minutes total. Drain and set aside.
  3. Shred the cheeses coarsely.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a baking pan (8 or 9 inch square) with butter and set aside.
Make a Roux
  1. Melt butter over low-medium heat in the saucepot.
  2. Add flour slowly, incorporating into the butter with a whisk. Continue stirring until it becomes aromatic and turns golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Make BĆ©chamel sauce
  1. Stir in the milk and heavy cream and raise heat to medium high.
  2. Whisk constantly to prevent dairy from burning on bottom of pot.
  3. Lower heat to a simmer. When sauce coats the back of a spoon, it's the right thickness.
  4. Add salt, pepper and mustard powder and whisk.
Make Cheese sauce
  1. Add shredded cheeses in 3 batches, ensuring that each batch is completely melted into the pot before adding the next.
  2. Remove from heat and mix pasta into pot well.
  3. If using, stir diced meat into pot.
Bake
  1. Pour mixture into buttered baking dish.
  2. Crumble potato chips to coat top of casserole.
  3. Bake 20-22 minutes.
  4. Let rest 15 minutes.

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Inspired by an epicurious recipe