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25 October 2010

Pam Anderson's shells and cheese, gluten-free

Pam Anderson's shells and cheese

Lu is talking up a storm these days. Yesterday, when she was hungry, she pointed to a photograph of yogurt in a book and said, "May I please have some of that?" We stood there astonished for a moment, and then we ran for the refrigerator to scoop some honey yogurt in a bowl. (The "may I please" is always going to be rewarded.)

She's throwing words off her tongue like a fastballer now, quick and clean. Sometimes her phrases whizz past us so fast that we need a beat or two to understand. "Oh, you just said, 'Daddy, come look at my painting'! Sure!"

But there's one familiar refrain around here that doesn't need any translation or wondering at the words.

"MaggyPam!" Lu shouts, several times a day. We chuckle a bit and carry her toward the computer.

You see, last month, in New York City, we finally met Maggy Keet. Maggy has possibly the warmest, goofiest smile I have ever seen. She's all enthusiasms and open arms, loud laugh and huge heart. We became instant friends after reading each other's websites. By the time we finally met at a dinner party in Brooklyn, the first hug made what we suspected a reality: we are fast friends.

And may I also point out to you Maggy's dear friend Erika, who writes Ivory Hut? As soon as I became friends with Maggy, I was lucky enough to become friends with Erika. You might know this already, but Erika's home burned down in late August. If you have not read the courageous post she wrote about what happened to them, you must do that now. The moment I finally met Erika, I fell into the most generous and full-armed hug I have ever experienced, aside from the ones Danny and Lu give me. She was a sister, immediately.

It's amazing what writing our lives on the computer can bring us.

Maggy writes a wonderful website called Three Many Cooks. Do you know it? You should. She writes a food blog with her sister, Sharon, and her mother, Pam Anderson.

Not that Pam Anderson.

At the potluck partyin Brooklyn hosted by the gracious Silvana Nardone, I stood next to a table laden with amazing food, all of which happened to be gluten-free. Maggy and Erika and I were talking fast. Justin, our book editor, and his lovely girlfriend, Jen, came up to join the conversation. We talked about the importance of cooking and the joy of knowing other people who feel as excited about food as we do, wildly gesticulating as we went. (Well, not Justin. He's too cool for that.) At a certain moment, I realized I had not introduced them to each other. "Hey Justin, this is Maggy. Her mom is Pam Anderson."

His eyes went wide and he looked flummoxed.

Maggy, as she must have done a hundred thousand times in her life, immediately said, "No, not that Pam Anderson."

Justin gulped. "No, I always think about the food world first. Your mom is Pam Anderson?"

I'm impressed too. Pam was once the executive editor of Cook's Illustrated, one of the most meticulous and respected food publications in this country. She writes a cooking column for USA Today. And she has written six cookbooks, all of them respected and filled with recipes that work.

She has also raised two kick-ass daughters. I love how close they are with her.

This Pam Anderson? She's wonderful.



Maggy Pam!

Danny and I were so happy that Pam and Maggy drove out to the island one morning, a few days before we left for San Francisco, to cook with us. What could be more fun than cooking together? Honestly, when we find people who believe this, we just want to hang out with them.

So we bustled around the kitchen, talking a mile a minute. Pam whipped up a dish of smashed potatoes and leeks that made us happy. We baked a batch of prosciutto-basil muffins from Pam's new book, Perfect One-Dish Dinners. Pam and Maggy both bit into a warm muffin and looked impressed. "They're tender, just like mine," Pam said.

Knowing they liked the gluten-free muffins made me happy. That recipe is damned delicious.

A few days later, we all hung out in San Francisco, laughing and making plans and talking food. Lu was there for all of it. She fell in love with Maggy in New York, Pam at our house, and MaggyPam! in San Francisco. (Sadly, she didn't get to spend enough time with Sharon to add her to the compound noun she likes to shout out now.)

And so, it makes sense that she gets the urge to see them sometimes. I click over to Three Many Cooks and start this video (shot and directed by our friends Todd and Diane, who shot our cookbook trailer too). Lu watches the three of them cooking, and talking, and laughing, entranced. She doesn't move. When it's done, she asks to see them again.

Hearing how Pam gave up her big-time career to be at home with her daughters, and found her path to happiness and success in a different way? I'm happy that Lu hears that story. And I give her a big squeeze, tears in my eyes again, imagining what it might be like when she is an adult and we can cook in the kitchen together.

This post is part of a blog cooperative about Pam's cookbook. For other Sunday Suppers, please visit these lovely people.

DadCooksDinner.com

RecipeGirl.com

ArtofGlutenFreeBaking.com

KitchenGadgetGirl.com

MyBakingAddiction.com

Wenderly.com

BluebonnetsandBrownies.com

TheSensitivePantry.com

WhatsCookingBlog.com

TwoPeasandTheirPod.com

WhatsGabyCooking.com

Bellalimento.com

SmithBites.com

MyFavoriteEverything.com

FoodForMyFamily.com

SavorTheThyme.com

Ivoryhut.com

DineAndDish.net

Picky-Palate.com

TickledRed

SheWearsManyHats.com

WhatWereEating.com

ThisWeekForDinner.com

SugarCrafter.net

GoodLifeEats.com

Pam Anderson's shells and cheese II

Pam Anderson's Shells and Cheese, Gluten-Free, adapted from Perfect One-Dish Dinners

Lu is going to grow up thinking that everyone writes cookbooks or makes films or paints or takes photographs for a living. I'm fine with that. We're lucky to have so many talented and courageous people in our life. I'm so happy that Lu knows them too.

So when I was choosing a recipe from Perfect One-Dish Dinners to make for the Sunday Suppers blog tour, I flipped through the book with Lu. Of course she stopped me on the page with pasta and cheese.

No problem, kiddo.

We had this for dinner last night, an easy one-pot meal that is still full of flavor. That's the theme of the book — delicious and not complicated. We want to make at least 20 meals from this cookbook alone. So many of the recipes are naturally gluten-free.


When Danny sat down to eat a plate of this shells and cheese — warm and bubbly, cheesy without being too rich, topped with browned breadcrumbs — he sighed after the first bite. About halfway through his dinner he looked up at me and said, "This tastes like a grilled cheese sandwich."

Yep. Or, as Lu said after her second bowl, "MaggyPam pasta cheese? Ummmm....good."


Kosher salt
1 pound gluten-free pasta shells (we used Ancient Harvest quinoa pasta)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese, grated
16 ounces cottage cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
16 ounces sour cream (we used cashew sour cream)
cracked black pepper
1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (watch this video to see how to make them)
3 tablespoons fine-chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 350°. Find a 13-by-9-inch casserole dish in the pantry. Spray it with cooking oil.

Cooking the pasta. Put 2 quarts of water and about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt (enough to make the water taste like the ocean) to boil on high heat. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the gluten-free pasta. Stir for the first few moments, occasionally, to ensure it does not stick. Cook until the pasta is al dente, or starting to turn tender but still quite firm. The timing will depend on the kind of pasta you bought. For the quinoa pasta we used, this was about 7 minutes. Drain the pasta immediately and pour a touch of olive oil over the pasta and toss. Set aside.

Making the casserole. Mix the cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, and Parmesan cheese together, along with the sour cream, in a large bowl. Dump the pasta in to the cheese mixture and toss it to coat. Taste, then add salt and pepper to season to your taste. Transfer it all to the oiled casserole dish.

Topping the casserole. Mix the gluten-free breadcrumbs, parsley, and butter. Sprinkle them evenly over the top of the casserole. Slide the casserole dish into the oven. Bake until the shells and cheese are bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown, about 35 minutes.

Serve immediately. Yum.

Feeds 8.





34 Comments:

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Melissa Davlin said...

Yum! This is almost exactly my recipe, except I add caramelized onions. And sometimes, I use Bionaturae penne pasta instead of shells.

 
At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Paula - bell'alimento said...

I can't wait to make this gluten free version for my middle man! He's always asking for "special noodles" that he can have and with cheese! All the better! Thanks for sharing!

 
At 2:26 PM, Blogger Maria said...

This looks so good! I know my hubs will love this one! Great post!

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger Susan said...

This sounds fabulous. One of the things I miss is baked mac & cheese. However, my daughter and I can't do cow's milk dairy. I can get goat's milk cheddar and I can use strained goat yogurt in place of the sour cream and peccorino romano instead of the Parmesan. I am stumped for what to use in place of the cottage cheese. Any ideas? Thanks.

 
At 3:35 PM, Anonymous RookieMom Heather said...

My kids are the only two in America who won't eat mac and cheese. I'll have to make this for myself!

 
At 3:45 PM, Blogger Elaine said...

OMG. Why haven't I thought to add caramelized onions to my mac and cheese?!! This recipe will be made ASAP.

 
At 3:46 PM, Blogger wenderly said...

Such an endearing post! I *cannot wait* to make this gorgeous dish for my sister who found out that she has Celiac Disease a couple months ago! Bless you!

 
At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Katie @ goodLife {eats} said...

This looks like comfort food any kid would love, and even those who are kids at heart. So many great recipes to try from this book!

 
At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Amber | Bluebonnets and Brownies said...

Shauna, you pegged our Maggy to a tee. I'm so sorry we didn't get to properly meet at BlogHerFood or when you were in NYC. You see, Maggy is my bestest friend in the whole wide world, and Pam is my east-coast mama. They adopted my husband and I a few years ago when we couldn't make it back to Texas (where I'm from) or England (where he's from) for the holidays. One of my favorite memories of BlogHerFood was seeing Danny and Lu outside the sessions, just having good old fashioned daddy-daughter time. She's a delight, your kid, and I didn't even meet her up close! So much of what you said here, well, it brings tears to my eyes. Because I love those Andersons something fierce. And I know you do too. This is one of my favorite recipes from the book, and I'm SO glad it was easily made gluten free.

 
At 4:27 PM, Blogger Nina Laden said...

My stomach is growling. I want some MaggyPam! Actually I want to know what is cashew sour cream? Did I read that, or did LU put some new words together?

I want to make this and add a touch of truffle oil and some sauteed chanterelles.

And then I want to stuff my face.

 
At 4:29 PM, Blogger Fuji Mama said...

I can't wait to try this GF version! I love this post. Part of what I love about food is the warmth that it seems to imbue to every situation. I feel bad for the kids who don't get pulled into the kitchen to spend time with a loved one. So much love and friendship out there to seize a hold of!

 
At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Nancy @ TheSensitivePantry said...

I really really miss mac and cheese and this one looks like maybe the best ever! It's creamy and crispy and fabulous. Thanks for sharing.

 
At 5:57 PM, Anonymous peacegypsy206 said...

OMG. Lu is SO ADORABLE! What a beautiful smile!! Thanks Lu, for picking such a great recipe! Like mom&dad, like daughter!

 
At 7:57 PM, OpenID eperdu said...

I gave this a shot and I added half a medium onion (diced) to give it a bit more flavor. It's similar to a recipe I've been making for years - the only difference is my recipe uses mayo and not cottage cheese. I find that the mayo helps to keep it from drying out. Overall it was a tasty meal!

 
At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Tickled Red said...

Oh my goodness! Mac and cheese never looked so good. By the way Lu is absolutely adorable :)

 
At 8:20 PM, Anonymous kruzon said...

what a great mac n cheese recipe. I'll try it soon.

 
At 4:36 AM, Anonymous LimeCake said...

that mac and cheese looks amazing! the crumb topping just makes it all the more special!

 
At 6:11 AM, Anonymous Kathleen said...

In response to Susan, who's looking to substitute for the cottage cheese, what about some crumbled goat's milk feta? I bet that would be really tasty!

 
At 6:45 AM, Blogger Jenn Sutherland said...

It's not even 9am, and my tummy is grumbling for lunch already! This mac n cheese looks amazing! But really, I want those proscuitto and basil muffins - wow!

 
At 8:04 AM, Blogger Jen said...

thanks for posting this - my cousin's family is coming to LA and her son has gluten allergies. this will be PERFECT!!

thanks for being...i don't know where I would've turned if you weren't at this exact spot! :)

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger Lakshmi said...

I am sure the other Pam Anderson is a wonderful person too unless you know better. Do you?

Finally a recipe for pasta shells and cheese sans eggs! Will be perfect for the cold nights!

Thanks, Shauna.

 
At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Shanna ~ My Favorite Everything said...

You are amazing! This was one of my favorite "One Dish" posts! I found you when Todd and Diane did your promo video, and LOVED the honesty in it. I ADORED watching The Chef chase Lu around BlogHer Food, and had a little inner giggle going on that it was me chasing my babes :-) And now reading your work, you really are amazing! Can't wait to make the "MaggyPam Shells" for me littles!

Thanks!

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger Shauna said...

Melissa, caramelized onions! yum.

Paula, I hope you little man enjoys this.

Maria, glad you enjoyed it.

Susan, someone below suggested crumbles of goat's milk feta. Wow! That would probably be even better than the cottage cheese.

Heather, they don't? that's actually great for them. they must eat a wider variety of foods than most.

Elaine, I know, right?

Wenderly, give my best to your sister! and tell her I'm here if she needs help with anything.

Katie, there really are so many great recipes from the book.

Amber, clearly I need to meet you too!

Nina, you read correctly! Cashew sour cream is a staple in this house now, since Danny and Lu don't do well with traditional sour cream. It's fabulous! I'll send you the recipe (it's also on the site, from a Thanksgiving post from last year).

Fujimama, I completely agree, as you might imagine. Warmth is the word. If all food is put before you without participating in the process, it's like you are eating in a restaurant every night. As much as I love restaurants, I don't want that.

Nancy, I hope you enjoy it!

peacegypsy, thank you! we're pretty partial to her.

eperdu, I like the mayonnaise idea. how much do you use? especially with creamy homemade mayonnaise, this would be fantastic! I did find it a bit more dry the second day than I wanted. We just put more cheese on it!

Tickled Red, thank you!

kruzon, I hope you enjoy it.

Limecake, you know, I was a strict no-breadcrumbs on my mac and cheese girl. Danny always preferred it with breadcrumbs. This recipe helped convince me.

Kathleen, that would be a great substitution!

Jenn, those prosciutto and basil muffins are crazy! I'll probably do a recipe post of them on the other blog.

Jen, I'm so happy I could be here right when you needed a place.

Lakshmi, you are right. I don't know the other Pam Anderson. She might be quite wonderful. She just has a lousy PR team!

Shanna, thank you! I am so lucky in Danny. He was such a mensch about chasing Lu around while I talked and worked. Did we meet? I wish!

 
At 11:54 AM, Anonymous SMITH BITES said...

I think Pam may need to change the name of this recipe to 'MaggyPam' - at least that's what I'll be calling it from now on. The recipe is fabulous but once again, your writing puts a smile on my face and little tears to my eyes - that little Lu is really special, Shauna, and I know you already know that but boy howdy, that child is what I call 'JOY RISING' - this whole project was 'Joy Rising' and I'm grateful to have been a part.

 
At 2:48 PM, Blogger alexis rose said...

good God this looks delicious! i so appreciate your zest for life and passion for cooking that you openly share with us.

 
At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Documentaries said...

This looks so good!
I'll have to make this for myself some!

 
At 5:53 PM, Blogger Chef Fresco said...

This looks delicious! And your daughter is adorable!

 
At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Jennifer (Savor) said...

Not only I am craving the mac & cheese but aching for a blue le crueset

 
At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Shaina said...

"Lu is going to grow up thinking that everyone writes cookbooks or makes films or paints or takes photographs for a living. I'm fine with that. We're lucky to have so many talented and courageous people in our life. I'm so happy that Lu knows them too."

Perfect. That's exactly how I hope my kids will grow up, appreciating all the amazing people around them. You guys are fantastic parents, and I'm sure one day Lu will be as close to you both as Maggy and Sharon are with Pam.

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger Laurie! said...

I have another g/f mac and cheese recipe but this one seems so much easier!! I'm going to try it out next week.

 
At 7:47 PM, Blogger Mardel said...

The recipe looks wonderful: I haven't made mac and cheese in so long.

You almost threw me for a loop with the "not that Pam Anderson" thing. I must obsess about food too much; I had forgotten about the other one, the non-cookbook-writing one.

Thank you for your blog. I don't write you and tell you how much I appreciate what you write enough.

 
At 11:45 PM, Anonymous pinky black said...

at first i thought it was just a pie!
i'd sure love to try this, im a fanatic of baked mac and cheese. any kind of creamy pasta with cheese!

 
At 4:46 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you so much for dinner tonight! Well, for the recipe for dinner tonight! Comfort food on this really chilly MN evening.

 
At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

Tried this out last night. I think next time I'll use more pasta, and maybe can the cottage cheese. It came out a wee bit too "lumpy" for my crew (or maybe throw it in the blender before?) I also added some garlic into the sauce to punch up the flavor. Thanks for sharing! Yum!

 

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