This roasted red pepper cheddar can be prepared in two ways: as a firm shreddable cheese or as a melty sauce. Either way, it creates a rich, cheese-like base to drench pasta in, and makes an addictive mac and cheese. This recipe is similar to this deep-fried version I made a few months ago, except I threw in a roasted red pepper for flavor and color, and then baked it. The end result was a crispy-topped mac and cheese, with a rich and gooey center, making it a perfect comfort food dish for fall.
One can of full-fat coconut milk
1 tsp coconut vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp agar powder
a few dash of ground white pepper
1 TB tapioca flour, blended with 1 TB cold water
2 TB nutritional yeast
5 oz. prepared roasted red pepper
1 cup elbow macaroni
1/4 – 1/3 cup almond or rice milk
To make shreddable cheddar
Combine the coconut milk, vinegar, salt, agar powder and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk briskly until it comes to a small boil, and continue to whisk for a minute or two more. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the tapioca/water mixture and nutritional yeast. Throw in the roasted red pepper and combine it by either using an immersion blender or quickly transferring to a blender to puree. Pour the contents into a glass pyrex, cover, then allow to set in the refrigerator overnight.
When you are ready to make the macaroni, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil, add in the dry macaroni and cook per the package instructions. Reduce the heat to low, then drain the pasta well and return it to the pot. Then, using a cheese grater, grate as much of the cheese as you want over the top. Stir well to combine. Add a little almond or rice milk to moisten. Bake for 15 minutes in a heat-resistant vessel. Add some panko breadcrumbs to the top and bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until the panko is slightly golden brown. Serve immediately.
To make melty cheddar
Follow the instructions in the first paragraph above, but reduce the agar amount from 2 tsp to 1/2 tsp and omit the addition of almond or rice milk. Pour the cheddar on top of cooked macaroni and bake at 400 per the instructions in the second paragraph above.