I love pretty much all things that include in their title spinach-artichoke, be it a dip of some kind, a pasta, or any other edible creation. So it was no surprise that my mouth literally started to water when I saw Rachael Ray do this one on her show. I immediately put it at the top of my list of "recipes to try" and added the ingredients to my grocery list. I was able to use two kinds of cheese I've never cooked with before, and make yet another trip to my favorite Cheese Kingdom at Harmon's. It was a BIG hit with Dick, and it's a good thing we always have plenty of leftovers because I'm sure this one would have been fought over for lunch the next day if there was only enough for one. It was simple to make, and tasted fantastic! I hope you love it just as much as we did.
Spinach-Artichoke Mac & Cheese
From Rachael Ray
1 lb semolina or whole wheat penne
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 c. white wine, or chicken broth
2 c. milk
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (I used dried w/ good results)
1 10-oz box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in a clean kitchen towel
1 10-oz box frozen chopped artichokes, defrosted and wrung dry in a clean kitchen towel
1 1/2 c. shredded Italian Fontina cheese, plus additional for sprinkling on top
1 1/2 c. grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus additional for sprinkling on top
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta, salt water & cook pasta to al dente.
2. While the pasta water comes to a boil, place a medium pot over med-low heat w/ 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, ~2 Tbsp, and the butter. Add the onion & garlic to the pan and cook the veggies until very soft, ~10 min. Then heat the broiler and position rack in the middle of the oven.
3. Turn the heat up to med-high and sprinkle the flour into the pan. Cook for ~1 min. then whisk the wine/broth into the pan, cooking for another minute to burn off the alcohol. Whisk the milk into the pan and bring up to a bubble. Add the nutmeg, spinach, artichokes, salt & pepper to the sauce and simmer until thickened and vegetables are warmed through, 2-3 min. more. Add 1 cup of each of the cheeses to the sauce & stir until melted.
4. Toss the prepared sauce w/ the cooked pasta and transfer to a casserole dish. sprinkle some more cheese over the top and back until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown, ~25 minutes.