Friday, 13 January 2012

Jalapeno spinach macaroni and cheese

2 1/2 C Uncooked macaroni or other short hollow pasta
1/4 C Butter
1 Tbsp Flour
1 1/4 C milk, cream or mixture of the two
125 g Gorgonzola or other creamy blue cheese
125 g Old cheddar
2 Cloves of garlic
1 Jalapeno pepper, minced (remove the seeds if you want to reduce the spiciness)
Large handful of baby spinach
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil pasta in heavily salted water as instructed on the package. Melt butter in pan, add flour and stir until creamy. Add milk/cream and stir until fully incorporated. Add cheeses, garlic, and minced jalapeno pepper, stirring often. When melted, add spinach to wilt down, still stirring often. If the sauce is too thick, add some pasta water.  Season to taste. Mix pasta and sauce, put in cassarole dish and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Broil until Parmesan layer turns golden brown.

Rich, creamy, flavourful, spicy, and satisfying. A great dinner unless you are on a diet. The sauce is quick and can be made in about the time it takes the pasta to cook. If you make this, I'd be interested to know in the comments how you liked it, any changes/substitutions you made, and how they worked out. I'm looking forward to leftovers.

To make this healthier you could use quinoa instead of pasta and add a higher proportion of vegetables. Any combination of broccoli, cauliflour, red bell pepper, zuccini and white kidney beans would be my choices.


tegan said...

... the cheese sauce is very similar to one i make a lot - i've used skim milk and low-fat cheese and it still tastes great (still not really diet-friendly, but close enough to convince yourself if it's a lazy diet). my secret ingredient is a pinch of nutmeg with the garlic; it's fantastic with seafood in the cheese sauce. next time i'll try jalapeno spinach though, it sounds amazing!

├╝berzen said...

I used mostly cream because I was out of milk, but I don't think it
much matters because you are adding a bunch of fat in the form of
butter anyways. Also, the cheese and roux both thicken the sauce, so
thinner milk wouldn't have any harmful effects on consistency.
Nutmeg is a great idea! I'll have to try that next time. Seafood would
be good texturally, but I imagine a lot of their subtler
flavours would be lost in the strong blue cheese sauce.