Making a gluten-free roux is actually extremely easy: replace the wheat flour with rice flour. Done.
For those of you unfamiliar with what a “roux” is, it’s really just a sauce or gravy thickener, and an easy way to add a little richness, used traditionally in French cooking. It consists of equal parts, by weight, flour and fat (butter, oil, bacon drippings, lard). There are two main variations, light and dark, which are made by varying the cooking time. The two have very distinctive flavors, so what kind of sauce you’re making will determine how long you’ll be cooking your roux.
I typically make a light roux for white sauces, like a thick and creamy alfredo, but because of my low-threshold for dairy I don’t actually make a true alfredo sauce (unless I splurge and buy Tofutti Cream Cheese).
So, with no special ingredients on hand: I melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons of rice flour, and then add 2 cups of room temperature milk (usually almond, so I have to off-set that very obvious almond flavor with spices), and grated parmesan cheese. You can also do one cup milk and one cup chicken/vegetable stock, this will give you a lighter, slightly less rich sauce. You’ll need to constantly be scraping the bottom of the pan with your whisk to prevent sticking and burning, but this whole process doesn’t take too long. I would say it’ll take about 6-8 minutes for you to get a nice thick consistency, and it’ll get even thicker as it cools. I might also have some sauteed veggies, like mushrooms or broccoli, that I would then stir in before pouring it over my gluten free pasta. Dinner. Is. Served.
This is also an easy way to make you’re own homemade cream of whatever soup, instead of buying the canned version. I’ve made a “cream of mushroom” soup that I’ve poured over thawed chicken in a crockpot. Easy peasy.
And, if you’re making a dark roux, like for a gumbo, and you grew up in my house, the best way to get that nutty flavor is to “burn” your rice flour first on a dry sheetpan in the oven, before cooking with the melted fat. I find that rice flour takes a little longer that wheat flour to “burn,” and won’t get quite as dark, but it will definitely brown nicely, and I haven’t found this to be detrimental to the dish at all.