spinach macaroni cheese

Mac n’ cheese is one of the ultimate comfort foods, something you want to get stuck into straight from the baking dish as soon as it comes out from the oven. This spinach-laced version is rich, creamy and oh so decadent, with a beautiful deep green hue and contains 5 portions of your daily recommended fruit and veg – making it a great way to get the kids to eat their greens. If making for children (or if you aren’t keen on blue cheese yourself) just leave out the stilton and add more of the other cheeses in its place. This cross between baked spinach and macaroni and cheese can also easily be made into a no less tasty vegetarian option by replacing the parmesan and omitting the streaky bacon.

Spinach Macaroni Cheese
serves 4

400g (3 1/3 cups) young spinach
400ml (1 2/3 cups) whole milk
4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped (optional)
250g (8.8oz) macaroni
1 bay leaf
200g (7oz) montgomery jack (or cheddar), grated
100g (3.5z) parmagiano reggiano, freshly grated
50g (1.8oz) stilton (or other blue cheese), crumbled
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated
30g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
2-3 tbsp flour
freshly ground black pepper
salt

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).

Blanch spinach in boiling water, then drain and refresh under cold water. Squeeze and press out excess water then place in a blender together with the milk, onions, garlic and nutmeg and pulse until well combined and spinach is puréed.

Meanwhile cook the macaroni in salted water as per packet instructions, until al dente. Drain and set aside. In a separate small pan melt the butter then add the flour and cook on a low heat while stirring for 2-3 minutes to make the roux.

In a large pot over a medium heat fry the bacon (if using) in a little butter for a few minutes until golden and crisp at the edges. Add the bay leaf and pour over the spinach mixture, stir and cook until steaming and near boiling, then add the roux and mix thoroughly to thicken.

Remove the bay leaf annd add the stilton, and 2/3 of the montgomery jack and parmesan. Once incorporated, stir in the cooked macaroni, season to taste, then pour the sauced pasta into individual ramekins or a large baking dish. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Serve on it’s own or with as a side to fried chicken, grilled steak or other protein of your choice.

Spinach on Foodista

~ by gourmettraveller on December 2, 2009.

16 Responses to “spinach macaroni cheese”

  1. looks delicious.Would low fat milk work as well in this recipe?

    • Yes, you can definitely substitute with low fat milk and half fat cheese. In fact, you can even leave out the butter and flour from the roux as blitzing the spinach with the milk actually thickens it considerably.

  2. Such a great comfort food. I love the blue cheese that you used in the dish…. and the spinach :)

  3. This looks delicious! I love macaroni and cheese. I love it even more when it is loaded with veggies!

  4. Great way to sneak in the veggies. Looks delicious!

  5. See, to me this looks like a grown-up version, not a way to sneak veggies into kids’ mouths. It’s pretty obvious that there’s something green in there – nothing’s being snuck anywhere! That’s not a knock on it, but I think its target audience has to be people who already like spinach.

    • Good point Camille! If you can get them to try some despite the colour though they may change their minds as it doesn’t taste all that green!

  6. Though I ‘d love to try this recipe… my fiancee only eat Kraft Mac n Cheese from the box…. can u believe it?

  7. I love anything with spinach and cheese so I know I’m gonna love this! Looks gorgeous!

  8. I really love a green vegetable (I usually serve broccoli on the side) with mac and cheese, and this looks perfect!

  9. Congrats on winning Top9 today! Your Mac & Cheese is just delicious…

  10. This is a healthy, non-fattening version since it has spinach in it, right? Kidding, looks fab.

  11. YUM! Now this is a mac and cheese recipe I would love!

  12. What a great combo! This will be a big hit in my house.

  13. This looks great. I’ve added this page to my favourites, for some cold winter night.

  14. Thank you for sharing. Cheers!

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