If you’re allergic to wheat, dairy (cow products), or corn like Bill is, pasta dishes are usually not an option. That’s one reason we rarely go out for Italian food unless it’s Tuscan style meat and vegetables.
As a substitute for wheat pasta, Bill buys Pasta Joy rice pasta, which takes a bit longer to cook than wheat pasta, but holds up pretty well in most recipes.
Since I love mac & cheese (after making many dishes of Paula Dean’s Cheesy Mac from her Lady & Sons cookbook), I was determined to find a way for Bill to enjoy it, too.
The other ingredient that needed substitution was cow’s cheese so I’ve tried either a Bulgarian sheep’s cheese from Mediterannean Island in Grand Rapids, Michigan, or kasseri (Greek sheep’s cheese) from G.B. Russo’s (also in Grand Rapids).
Here’s the basic recipe, although it’s slightly different each time I make it because I do it on the fly. (If you’re vegetarian, just leave out the meat and I promise it’ll be just as tasty.)
1-lb. bag of rice pasta, preferably penne
1/2 lb. of ground grassfed pork
1 large leek or onion
1 cup grated kasseri or Bulgarian sheep’s cheese
About 1 tsp. paprika
About 1 tsp. dry mustard
About 1/4 tsp. white pepper
Salt to taste
Brown the ground pork until it’s very crispy, breaking it up into tiny pieces in the pan and draining as needed. Spoon meat onto a plate with a paper towel on it to drain any remaining fat. Keep warm.
Slice leek (or chop onion). Add some olive oil to the same pan the pork was in and saute until transparent.
Grate cheese and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to instructions on bag. Drain.
In a large pasta bowl, pour some olive oil to coat while leaving at least 1/4 inch in the bottom. Add spices to the oil and stir until dissolved.
When pasta is cooked and drain, add it to the pasta bowl, coating with oil mixture (and adding more oil if necessary). Add cheese and stir to melt, then add pork.
You could vary this recipe in many ways, such as using ground turkey instead of pork; adding other vegetables (such as finely chopped broccoli); or changing up the spice mixture.