Four-Cheese Spinach Macaroni

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

Yield:

8 servings

Recipe from


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

Preparation

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.

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.

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.

Note:

Christmas with Southern Living 2004

May 2004