Made this delicious Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese using the cream and spinach from my farm share box this week. I was honestly surprised at how much my son loved this mac and cheese the first time I made it. He’s not much of a mac and cheese lover and with the cooked spinach in it I was sure he’d hate it. Caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and wilted spinach combined with a rich creamy cheese sauce makes this a winner. I didn’t have enough penne pasta on hand so used small shells instead. They worked great because the sauce just clings to the shells. Enjoy!
Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from Acme Farms and Kitchen
1 pkg penne pasta
4 oz Gouda, cubed
4 oz cheddar cheese, cubed
1 small onion, sliced
8 oz baby spinach, washed
8 oz shiitake mushrooms
1-1/2 cups half and half (I used about 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk)
4 Tbls butter, divided
2 Tbls flour
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash spinach in cool water, drain but do not dry. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently until mushrooms begin to lose moisture. Add 1 tablespoon butter and continue cooking 4-5 minutes longer. Set mushrooms aside, wipe out skillet. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet. Add sliced onion and cook over medium heat until onions caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add spinach with water still clinging to the leaves. Cover and cook until spinach is wilted. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. In pasta pot melt 2 tablespoon butter over medium heat. When foam subsides add 2 tablespoons flour to make a roux and stir to combine, cooking until slightly browned. Add half and half, stir until roux is dissolved and milk begins to thicken. Stir in salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in cubed cheeses and continue stirring until melted. Add pasta and stir to combine. Add onions, spinach and mushrooms; toss. Pour into a baking dish. Bake until bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.
Optional: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet, add bread crumbs, stir to combine and cook until golden brown. Top macaroni and cheese with bread crumbs before baking.