Sunday, December 29, 2013
This is your pasta after spending a night in the fridge.
Um. You guys. I don't normally like homemade Macaroni and Cheese. But then my mom started making this awesomeness a few years ago. It's got a lovely little mustard kick with some spinach as a healthy side bonus (Mom tried to tell me this dish was healthy, but I don't think spinach has enough power to overcome this much cheese and cream).
Mmmm, cheese and cream.
Mom's Dijon Mac n Cheese with SpinachIngredients
1 box Barilla shells
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Dash of cayenne
1.5 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cups of milk (I usually use one cup of heavy cream and one cup of low fat milk)
12 ounces shredded or sliced extra sharp cheddar (save 1/2 cup for baking)
1 bag of fresh spinach leaves (I think you can use frozen spinach. I never have though.)
1/4 cup of plain bread crumbs
1. Prepare one box of Barilla shells (I mix them into the sauce warm.)
2. Melt 1 ½ Tbsp of butter in a large sauce pan
3. Add 3 Tbsp of flour. Mix it, and cook it for a minute on low heat. (Do NOT burn!)
This is a very scary point in the process at which the butter + flour look like dough. It wasn't until Step 7 that my sauce stopped looking clumpy. 'Best to add the flour slowly.
4. Add 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and a dash of cayenne.
5. Add 2 Tbsp of Dijon mustard
6. Add 2 cups of milk/cream
7. Whisk this. Keep the heat on medium.
8. Add 1 ¼ cup of extra sharp cheddar cheese (sliced or grated) a handful at a time.
9. Whisk. Put heat to low.
10. Add a whole bag of rinsed spinach leaves. It will look bulky, but it wilts fast.
11. Whisk the spinach in gently – till it reduces.
12. Stir in the warm pasta. (Warm pasta soaks up the flavor, and those Barilla shells are sturdy!)
13. Whisk gently.
14. Put in a casserole dish. Top with some plain bread crumbs and about 1/2 cup of grated cheddar.
15. Cook at 325 for 30 or 35 minutes.