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Four-Cheese Spinach Macaroni

Yield 8 servings
You may never crave traditional mac-and-cheese again after tasting this creamy, cheesy garlic-and-spinach version with penne pasta.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese
  • 1 (4-ounce) package crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 1 cup soft breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

How to Make It

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, and drain. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add milk, and cook until thoroughly heated. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and next 6 ingredients; whisk until smooth. Stir in spinach. Add cooked pasta, tossing to coat. Spoon into a lightly greased 13" x 9" baking dish.

  2. Combine breadcrumbs, remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons melted butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle breadcrumb topping over macaroni. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20 minutes or until golden.

  3. Fresh Spinach Substitution: You can substitute a 10-ounce package of fresh spinach instead of using frozen spinach, if desired. Just wash the spinach, trim stems, and coarsely chop the leaves. Then wilt the leaves for 1 to 2 minutes in hot water in a pan.

Christmas with Southern Living 2004