Spinach and Parmesan Mac & Cheese

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As I read this, I’m laying on my bed with my dog on one side and my cat on the other. It’s warmer out than it has been in a long time with the temperature reaching almost 50°F. This is pretty impressive considering it’s only February.

However, I’m also sitting through what I feel like might be the first thunderstorm I’ve ever witnessed in the month of February as well.

Needless to say, there’s not a lot to do today. Since I work a Monday through Friday job, I like to have weekends to do fun things. But it doesn’t look like this weekend is going to be much fun at all.

This makes it a good day to do some recipe development. What I initially wanted to make was a pasta dish with spinach and garlic and Parmesan serving as the main characters of my sauce with a bechamel-like base.  Unfortunately, I must have had macaroni and cheese on the brain because I unconsciously started cutting up a brick of cheese and basically turned my bechamel into a cheese sauce instead of Alfredo.  Basically, the only way to salvage this was to turn this into a mac and cheese.  Turns out, this “mistake” turned out to be pretty delicious!

So, with that being said, here is my accidental mac and cheese with a little Italian pasta flavor!

 

 

 

Spinach and Parmesan Mac & Cheese

 

1 lb. macaroni noodles

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cups spinach

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour

2 cups milk

3/4 cup mild cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

 

Preheat oven 350F.

Boil pasta in generously-salted water until the pasta is al dente.  Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Cook spinach for 5-6 minutes or until it’s almost completely wilted.  Add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a large pan on medium heat.  Add flour and stir to create a roux.  Add in milk and stir until it becomes slightly thicker and smooth  Add cheddar, Parmesan and nutmeg and stir until melted and smooth.

Fold macaroni into the cheese mixture and stir to mix completely.  Add the spinach mixture and stir to combine.  Season to taste.  Pour mixture into a greased 8×8 pan.

Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top.

Bake  for 35-40 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and the bread crumbs are toasted on the top.

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