Macaroni and cheese has ALWAYS been a favorite of mine. Truth be told, I usually dreaded dinner as a child. There was always some vegetable that I was going to have to choke down. Believe it or not, I hated vegetables!!! Funny how life can take a complete 180 degree turn :) But, I could take just about anything if I saw that macaroni and cheese was on the table.
A few years ago, I started making a macaroni and cheese dish with roasted cauliflower. I have friends who always request it if they are coming for dinner. Well, I think I have a new favorite! This one is made with spinach and it's REALLY, REALLY good.
Gloriously Green Macaroni and Cheese
1 12 oz. pkg elbow macaroni, whole grain if possible
16 oz. spinach chopped fine
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons corn starch
3 cups unsweetened coconut milk beverage
2 cups white sharp cheddar cheese shredded
1/2 cup Romano Cheese shredded
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence
1 cup bread crumbs for topping
salt and pepper to taste
1. Begin by boiling a large pot of water and cooking elbow macaroni per directions on box.
2. Heat olive oil in pan and saute spinach with garlic until spinach has wilted. Set aside.
3.Melt butter in heavy sauce pan. Slowly stir in corn starch with a wire whisk. Add milk. I used a coconut milk beverage. If you would like, you may always use regular milk. Stir milk into butter/corn starch mixture. Stirring continuously, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes.
4. Add sauteed spinach and garlic to the sauce and stir well.
5. Add shredded sharp white cheddar to sauce/spinach mixture and stir until all cheese has melted.
6. Add dry mustard and Herbs de Provence.
7. Once elbow macaroni has cooked, drain and rinse in cool water to stop the cooking.
8. Pour spinach sauce over macaroni and stir well. Pour into a greased baking dish.
9. For a crispy topping, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and combine with 1 cup of fresh bread crumbs. I added 1/2 cup of shredded Romano cheese and 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper.
10. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until topping has browned.
Serve and enjoy!!!
This makes a wonderful main course dish, just add a side salad. Leftovers keep well...if you have any ;)
A quick note on the cheese that I like to use...
There's a wonderful creamery in Wisconsin called Union Star whose cheese I love.
They do have a mail order business and you can find the cheese HERE. You may think that one cheese is just as good as another. You'll change your mind if you ever try the Union Star cheese!
Hope you enjoy the macaroni and cheese as much as we did. I'm at a point now that I don't think I'll ever eat macaroni and cheese the old fashion way again!