The temperature has dropped and soon the kids and family will be coming home so lets get some comfort food ready. Everyone loves macaroni and cheese regardless of how it’s made. It’s not like potato salad where people seem to have their own version and no one can make it like mom does. I can eat anyones macaroni and cheese. It’s one of those foods that I have a hard time passing up.
I make several different types from the basic, to an easy one pot, Poole’s Diner’s version and one with evaporated milk. I love them all. This one is a basic macaroni and cheese base where you make a white sauce and add cheese and then bake. However, at Foster’s market they add spinach and some cayenne pepper.
Natalie and I went to Foster’s Market last weekend after I ran the RDC ½ marathon. It was a great race on the Tobacco Trail in Durham, which if you’re a runner and visiting Durham you’ve got to check out. Fosters was just a few minutes away and I had one of their awesome scones and peppermint hot chocolate. Maybe the best post race food I’ve had. I love the cookbook I have from their restaurant, everything including their version of Macaroni and Cheese has been awesome.
It almost makes you feel like you’re eating a healthy dish, it has spinach in it after all. Eat this in moderation, it’s pretty rich with all the cream and cheese but worth all the calories. Isn’t this pumpkin shaped cast iron dish from Staub adorable. I got it for my birthday and just love it. Keep it in mind if you’re looking for a gift, I like the white but it comes in other colors.
Mac and Cheese with Spinach
Classic Mac and Cheese with Spinach has a grown up twist. Baked with spinach and some spice jazz up this traditional favorite. It’s still just as rich and creamy with gooey cheese. Great on it’s own or as a side dish.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 8-10 1x
- Category: side
- 1 lb orecchiette pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 5 cups milk
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, 8 ounces
- 2 cups gruyere cheese, 8 ounces
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1–2 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs, (can use panko)
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly butter a 9 x 13 or a 2 quart baking dish.
2. Cook pasta until al dente, drain in colander and sprinkle with olive oil.
3. Place milk in a microwave safe bowl and cook for about 2 minutes until it is warm. In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat and add flour, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes. Gradually add warm milk whisking until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until thick, about 10 minutes. Combine the cheeses in a bowl. Remove from heat and add 3 cups of cheese stirring until melted. Add spinach, hot sauce, salt, cayenne, and black pepper and stir until he spinach has wilted.
4. Combine the pasta and cheese sauce and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Place half in the prepared pan and sprinkle with ½ the cheese. Repeat with remaining pasta and cheese. Pour cream over the entire mixture and sprinkle with bread crumbs. (Panko will work in a pinch)
5. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes until bubbly around the edges. Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.