Friday, November 12, 2010

Low-Lactose Mushroom and Chicken White Sauce

The big girl requested macaroni and cheese for lunch today, which I agreed to on the condition that whatever I made, she ate! I didn't have to worry, because she LOVED this. (Who doesn't love white sauce?)

I made this low lactose, because my lactose-intolerant daughter currently has some wiggle room in her "I can handle that" lactose bucket. I included cream for a bit of richness, but you could easily take out the cream entirely, and replace the butter with something like bacon drippings, to make this completely lactose free. Soy milk has the same amount of fat as whole milk, so you'd still have a silky sauce I think. The soymilk I make for my daughter and use in my cooking is lightly sweetened and flavored, about 2 tablespoons of sugar for 2 quarts of milk, plus 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla. Unsweetened and unflavored is preferable, but harder to find as most plain soy milk isn't actually plain. I figured that the extra sugar would make this taste more like my kids' favorite packaged noodles, and I was right.  The mushrooms and extra browning steps, plus chicken base, added enough depth of flavor that she never noticed I didn't actually put cheese in.  Thus proving that macaroni and cheese from a box doesn't actually taste like cheese.  (I did let them sprinkle parmesan on top, though.)

Low-Lactose Mushroom and Chicken White Sauce

2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
soy milk, about 1 1/2 cups
cream, about 1/4 cup
1/2 teaspoon chicken stock base
1 can button mushrooms, undrained
pepper to taste

1/2 pound dry pasta, cooked
1 cup reserved pasta cooking water

Make a simple white sauce by melting the butter over medium heat in a saucepan. If you want a little extra flavor, let it cook just a bit longer to get some color. Whisk in the flour, and again if you'd like some extra flavor let this roux get some color. Start slowly adding soy milk, stirring to completely break up clumps of the roux, and gradually add all of the soy milk, plus a splash of cream. Add the mushrooms with their canning water (again, for a bit of extra flavor), and let the sauce simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Pepper to taste.

Stir into hot cooked pasta over low heat or just residual heat if the burner is still hot, and add 1/4 cup of pasta water at a time and let cook briefly until thickened and the noodles are coated with sauce. (I like to place my colander in my serving bowl to drain the noodles- the bowl catches the pasta water I need when I sauce the noodles, and the hot pasta water heats my serving bowl. Just dump out the water when your noodles are ready, and fill!)
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