Spinach Artichoke Mac & Cheese

Last night my mom and I were on our own again for dinner (yes, it was a supper bummer that she and my dad couldn’t spend Valentine’s Day together, but it happens, his schedule is crazy). We couldn’t go to Newbo or go out because it would have been crazy to try to go where hip young couples go, so we stayed in and made a warm, creamy pasta.

The title is misleading, there was to macaroni in this dish, it was penne. The whole thing was super grown up and would have been perfect for a date night, we definitely  enjoyed ourselves.

A while back I made Ree’s Spinach Artichoke dip, and fell in love with the stuff, so when I found this recipe I knew that I had to try it sometime. Except we messed up the directions, so I will tell you how we made it, and offer some advice on alternative ways of making and or serving it. I hate to say that someone’s directions are terrible, but they are and they will mislead you.

Start by cooking a box of penne pasta, making sure to salt the water enough. Set it aside once it’s done.

Then wilt some spinach or defrost the frozen spinach (either is fine, honestly). And chop up the canned artichoke hearts, make them pretty small. If you don’t want veggie hunks in your sauce, you can throw each into the food processor separately and puree them (just mix them into the sauce really well).

Make the topping thing, mix the cream cheese, half the spinach and artichokes, the parm, the onion, and half of the garlic, and put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until it just starts to get brown on top.

Start the sauce with a roux, make sure to not cook it too long or too short, you want it to just start to smell nutty but don’t let it burn. Then mix the milk in slowly, then the mustard and the cheeses.

Then mix the rest of the spinach, artichokes, and garlic into the cheese sauce. Then mix the pasta in, making sure to that the spinach isn’t in clumps or only on one side of the pan.

This is where I didn’t follow the instructions, I just scooped the oven stuff out of it’s pan and mixed it right into the pasta, and it was nice and creamy. If you want to be like the other recipe, you would scoop up the pasta, then top it with the oven dip. We didn’t do that though, and it still really tasted wonderful.

Another way of serving it would be to not ever put the oven stuff (I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO CALL IT!! I’m sorry.) in the oven and just set it aside until the sauce is made and pasta’d. Then you dish each serving into an oven-safe boul or ramakin, and then top each one with a little of the mix. Top with some bread crumbs or panko and pop it under the broiler untill the top gets melty and crispy.

That presentation sounds awesome, I’ll upload pictures if I ever get to that. I told my mom that I would make it again for my brother sometime, so I might do it that way when he is home next.

AHH! I keep forgetting to upload photos for this. I’m sorry, follow the link if you want to see stuff. So I just posted it the way that it is now, I’ll edit the pictures in soon.


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