An adaptation of the recipe in my first book, Everyday Italian, this lightened-up version is also gluten free. Greek yogurt gives it the rich, creamy texture of cream and butter without the fat, and the rice cereal adds a boost of fiber and the perfect crunch.
Lighter Macaroni and Cheese
1 (12-ounce) bag of rice flour penne, such as Bionaturae
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
¼ cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1 cup (about ¼ pound) shredded Gruyère or Emmentaler cheese
½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ cup oven-toasted rice cereal, such as Chex, crushed
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the broiler to high.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook according to package directions, just until al dente. Drain well, reserving ? cup of pasta water for the sauce.
Heat a 3-quart ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and shallots and cook, stirring often, until the shallots have softened and are translucent. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
Turn off the heat and add the ricotta, yogurt, shredded Gruyère, thyme, salt, cayenne, and reserved pasta water. Whisk until combined. Add the cooked pasta and fold into the sauce until it is well coated.
In a small bowl, mix the crushed rice cereal with the Parmesan. Sprinkle the mixture over the pasta and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bubbly.