I went with a friend to a specialty macaroni and cheese restaurant in the Bay Area and left feeling completely inspired. I have a spinach artichoke dip that I frequently make and decided to mix some elbow pasta in just to see how it would turn out. This recipe turned out to be a hit. I have made many varieties of this recipe and have settled on the one that I am sharing today. If you are in the mood for a delicious different version of the classic that I previously posted give this one a try.
Service size: 6
Active time: 13 minutes
Inactive time: 37 minutes
16 oz elbow pasta
1/4 C.+2 T. vegetable oil
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
2 C. whole milk
1 C. shredded monterey jack cheese
1 onion, chopped
8 oz fresh spinach, chopped
16 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans of artichoke hearts, chopped, drained
1 t. salt
1 t. ground pepper
1 t. granulated garlic
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook pasta according to the package directions.
3. When the pasta is done cooking, strain but don’t rinse, and season to taste. I used granulated garlic, seasoning salt, ground black pepper. Don’t wash the pasta pot.
4. Heat a pan to med-high, add 2 T. vegetable oil, fresh minced garlic, chopped spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, chopped onion, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and cayenne pepper. Saute until vegetables are tender (approximately 3 minutes). When the vegetables are sauteed sit them to the side.
5. Return the pasta pot to the stove and heat on med-high. Mix vegetable oil and flour together, stirring constantly for 3 minutes until it becomes a blonde roux and is bubbly.
6. Whisk in milk slowly, whisking constantly until mixture is thick and creamy.
7. Add the seasoned elbow pasta, sauteed vegetables, and cheese to the roux.
8. Mix until combined and well coated.
9. Pour into a greased baking pan, smooth until leveled, and bake for 25 minutes.
10. When the mac and cheese is done, serve hot, and enjoy!
- Whole wheat pasta can be substituted.
- Any dairy substitution can used in lieu of the whole milk.
- Any dairy free cheese can be substituted.
- Any cheese can be substituted or added to this recipe. I have added 1 C. of feta to the top of the mac and cheese and it was delicious.
- Frozen spinach can be added as long as it is defrosted and drained of excess liquid.