Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SPINACH ARTICHOKE MACARONI AND CHEESE


When the lovely Kim from Stirring the Pot posted this recipe, I knew it would be cutting the queue so as to appear on our dinner table as soon as possible. I confess I don't own any of Rachel Ray's cookbooks nor have I watched her TV show very often. Seeing this dish on Kim's blog, it occurred to me that I may not have given her a fair chance before banishing her from The Food of Love kitchen. I prepared the dish just as Kim adapted it below:



Spinach and Artichoke Mac 'n' Cheese
Adapted from Rachel Ray's Look + Cook
Serves 6-8

Salt
1 pound cellantani
2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 large Vidalia onion, finely chopped
 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups 2%milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 (14-ounce) drained artichoke hearts, chopped
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted & wrung dry in a kitchen towel
Black pepper
1-1/2 cups shredded Italian Fontina cheese, plus additional for sprinkling on top
1-1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus additional for sprinkling on top

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta, salt the water, and cook the pasta to al dente.  While the pasta water comes to a boil, place a medium pot over medium-low heat with EVOO and the butter.  Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook until very soft, about 10 minutes.  Heat the broiler and position the rack in the middle of the oven.  Turn up the heat under the pot to medium-high and sprinkle the flour into the pot.  Cook for about 1 minute, then whisk in the wine and cook for another minute to burn off the alcohol.  Whisk the milk into the pan and bring up to a bubble.  Add the nutmeg, artichokes, spinach, and salt and pepper to the sauce and simmer until thickened and the vegetables are warmed through, 2-3 minutes more.  Add 1 cup of each of the cheeses to the sauce and stir until melted.  Toss the prepared sauce with the cooked pasta and transfer to a casserole dish.  Sprinkle the remaining Fontina and Parmigiano over the top and brown under the broiler for about 3 minutes.
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TASTE NOTES
I knew from the description of this dish and the gorgeous photo Kim took that this was going to be a delicious dinner and I was right. DSO and I both love spinach artichoke dip; we are also big fans of mac n' cheese. So, what's not to love when you combine the two? The creaminess of the sauce, broken up by chunks of artichoke and spinach, was as big a hit in the middle of summer as I know it will be when the leaves are falling. Leftovers--and there are plenty of those--make a great side dish with almost any protein. Make this soon; you won't regret it. And Rachel, my apologies.

9 comments:

  1. I am also a huge fan of macaroni cheese, and a huge fan of spinach artichoke dip, so I will definitely be trying this!

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  2. I would love to know if you loved this? I have never had anything that Rachael Ray cooked that came out tasty... but this sure sounds great!

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  3. I bookmarked this too, seems so good

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  4. I saw this at Kim's place, too...and knew I wanted to try it. Sounds so tasty :D

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  5. Oh my God this looks so good and i`m sure that it is delicious too. I think it is not a very difficult recipe so i will give it a try, thanks a lot for sharing.

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  7. This does look like a perfect combination. I think between the rave reviews from both you and Kim I am going to have to make it. ;-)

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  8. Like you I was hesitant about Rachel too. She scares me off a bit on her shows because she just talks way too much. However her Look + Cook book is really winning me over. I'm so glad that you all enjoyed this macaroni. It looks like it turned out perfectly!

    God Bless Fontina cheese..isn't it one of the best?

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