Friday, February 20, 2009

Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese

Today was a nasty day. After a few days of almost spring like weather, winter decided to return. Just the previous morning we woke up to the sound of birds singing and it made us feel like spring was in the air.
WRONG. . .

We had snow overnight and more during the day. I had some errands to do and went to Wegmans to buy the ingredients for dinner. Couldn't decide between the Fontina in the recipe or the suggestion of using Provolone for more flavor so I got both. I also got a cheese called Fontinella. I used all the cheeses, just made the total quantity what was called for in the recipe.
Here's the link to the recipe

It was delicious. Not like your ordinary mac and cheese.  But someone must be kidding about 4 servings - it made a ton!!

Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese

* Salt
* 1 pound regular or whole wheat penne
* 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 1 large onion, finely chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 2 cups milk
* A few grates fresh nutmeg
* 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in a kitchen towel
* 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped artichokes, defrosted and wrung dry in a kitchen towel
* Ground black pepper
* 1 1/4 cups shredded Italian Fontina cheese, plus additional for sprinkling on top
* 1 1/4 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus additional for sprinkling on top

Yields: 4 servings

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Place a large pot of water over high heat to cook the pasta. When the water is boiling, salt it well and drop the pasta in. Cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain the pasta and reserve.

While the pasta is cooking, place a medium pot over medium-low heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons, and the butter. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook the veggies until very soft, about 10 minutes.

Turn the heat up to medium-high and sprinkle the flour into the pan. Cook for about 1 minute then whisk the wine into the pan, cooking for another minute to burn off the alcohol. Whisk the milk into the pan and bring up to a bubble. Add the nutmeg, veggies, some salt and pepper to the sauce, and simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Add the cheeses to the sauce and stir until melted.

Toss the prepared sauce with the cooked pasta and transfer to a casserole dish. Sprinkle some more Fontina and Parmigiano over the top and bake until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

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