This recipe is incredibly versatile. I’ve served it as a main course and as a side dish with a hearty protein like steaks. Never stint on the quantity you make of this because it goes fast – the first time I made it for a dinner party, it never made it to the table – it was consumed at the kitchen island by all the adults. The kids never got any.
IMPORTANT: As with any gluten free recipe that emulates something traditional (the classic mac and cheese), you need to be careful with certain of the ingredients – here the flour and the pasta. I strongly recommend King Arthur Gluten Free “Measure for Measure Flour” and Ronzoni Gluten Free pasta – the one they describe as “Delicious White Pasta Taste” (it is in a a yellow box).
- 10 oz dry penne or elbow pasta (Gluten Free Ronzoni recommended)
- 6 oz package sliced pepperoni
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup diced red or yellow bell pepper
- 1 medium diced onion
- 2 tbsp minced fresh garlic
- 1 tbsp diced oregano
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup gluten free flour (King Arthur Measure for Measure)
- 3 cups 2% milk
- 1/2 cup cream (or 3 1/2 cups whole milk instead of the milk and cream)
- 9 oz provolone cheese shredded
- 6 oz sharp white cheddar shredded (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup grated parmesan, divided
- 1 cup purchased marinara sauce
Note: Like all mac and cheese dishes you can change up the cheese type and quantity here. Experiment with what you like.
- Preheat oven to 400. Get a cookie sheet ready to sit a cast iron pan or casserole dish on.
- Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water with salt. 11 minutes worked for me but your time may vary depending on pasta brand.
- Take 20 slices of pepperoni out of the package and set aside to lay on the top at the very end. Mince remaining pepperoni and brown in 2 tbsp oil in a 12” cast iron pan over medium heat until crispy but not browned. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and let drain. Leave about 1/4 cup drippings in bottom of pan.
- Sweat bell peppers, onions, garlic, oregano and pepper flakes over medium heat until softened, 5 to 10 minutes depending on heat. Increase heat to medium high and whisk in flour, coating vegetables. Cook for 1 minute.
- Whisk in milk, stirring often until smooth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add cheese step by step (only use 3/4 cup of the parmesan and 3 oz o the provolone saving the rest for the top). Whisk until melted.
- Stir in pepperoni and pasta. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Dollop marinara over pasta and top with remaining parmesan and provolone.
- Transfer skilled to the baking sheet.
- Bake until bubbly – 20 minutes.