As I ran across campus today– trying to protect roughly 1700 pages of precious library books from the freezing rain– all I could think about was a hot plate of comfort food. It was the perfect day for some homemade mac ‘n’ cheese.
But by the time I got home, neither Gabe nor I felt like cooking, so we ordered Indian food for supper instead. (Ah, the joys of city living!)
I still thought I’d share this recipe with you; I came up with it a couple weeks ago and we found it pretty tasty. This version of mac ‘n’ cheese is much healthier than the original. I discovered that using more flavorful cheese (such as an Italian blend) means that a little goes a long way. So instead of the whopping 16 oz. of cheese that some recipes use, this one only calls for 4 oz. And it still tastes cheesy, I promise.
Baked Spinach Mac ‘n’ Cheese
- 16 oz. fresh whole wheat pasta (or 10 oz. dried pasta)
- 4 Tbs. butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 Tbs. dried onions
- 2 cups milk (I use lactose-free milk)
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped
- 4 oz. (1 cup) shredded Italian cheese
- dash of nutmeg
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup panko
- Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 350° F. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute. Stir in dried onions and cook for 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in milk. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in spinach and cook just until wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add a dash of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in pasta until well combined, then transfer to a 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs and a bit of Italian seasoning over the top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and cheese is bubbling.
Source: A Lingonberry Jam original