Tuesday, December 4, 2012

MAC AND CHEESE WITH SPINACH

1 slice soft multi-grain sandwich bread
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups low-fat milk
2 tbsp whole-wheat flour
1 large garlic clove, minced
4-oz shredded cheddar cheese
4-oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
8-oz penne or corkscrew pasta
1 pkg (6-oz) fresh baby spinach leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly buttered a 9-inch square baking dish; set aside.

Pulse bread in a food processor until reduced to fine crumbs.

Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the breadcrumbs to the melted butter; cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until bread crumbs are toasted.  Transfer to a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese.

Wipe saucepan clean with a paper towel then add the milk, flour, and garlic; whisk until blended together.  Whisking frequently, bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in the rest of the Parmesan cheese along with the cheddar, mozzarella, Dijon, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Stir until cheeses are melted and the sauce is smooth.  Cover, set aside and keep warm.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions but shortening the cooking time by 2 minutes.  Add the spinach and stir until completely wilted.  Pour into a colander to drain then rinse with cold water and allow to drain again.  Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the warm cheese sauce.

Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is browned.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

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