Who doesn’t love spinach & artichoke dip? This recipe combines everyone’s favorite appetizer with comfort-food favorite mac n’ cheese, with delicious results. This recipe is a Rachael Ray classic that I follow to the letter. No need to change a thing about it.
- 1 pound whole wheat penne
- Salt & black pepper
- Olive Oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, grated or diced
- 3 TBSP flour
- 1/2 C white wine (a generous splash in the pan)
- 2 C milk
- nutmeg, to taste (about 1/4 TSP)
- 1 10 oz. box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 1 10 oz. box frozen artichokes, thawed
- 1 1/2 Cups fontina cheese, shredded (plus some for sprinkling on top)
- 1 1/2 Cups parmesan cheese, grated (plus some for sprinkling on top)
Preheat the oven to 375 and set the pasta water on to boil. The recipe from Rachael Ray calls for salting the water, which I don’t typically do; here, though, the bland white sauce could overwhelm unsalted pasta, so I would lean toward salting the water. If you do this, add it when the water is at a rolling boil just before you add the pasta, otherwise it will sit in the bottom of your pan and possibly corrode the pot before dissolving. The most important thing with the pasta for mac n’ cheese is to undercook it a bit; if you cook it fully or (like I once did) overcook it, the penne will turn to mush when you bake it.
While the pasta is boiling, prepare the other ingredients so they’re ready to go.
Place a medium pan over medium-low heat and swirl with olive oil and butter until melted. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
Turn the heat up to medium-high and sprinkle the flour into the pan. Cook for a minute, then whisk in the wine until the alcohol burns off (about another minute).
Whisk the milk into the pan and bring to a bubble.
Add the nutmeg, spinach, artichokes, salt and pepper. Simmer until thickened and warm, just a few minutes.
Add a cup of each cheese to the sauce and stir until melted.
Add the drained pasta to the prepared sauce and transfer to a casserole dish. Add some more of both cheeses on top and bake for half an hour or until the cheese is melted and the top is golden brown.
- For the fontina, which is a soft, grate-able and very melt-able cheese, you could also try gouda or gruyere, as well as mild provolone.
- For the whole wheat penne, almost any other type of tubular pasta such a ziti, rigatoni or macaroni would work. A “shaped” pasta, like farfalle, wagon wheels or rotini, would also be fine because they’ll hold on to the sauce well.
Here’s another recipe for Spinach-Artichoke Mac n’ Cheese that uses sour cream and cream cheese, more like the dip. See which one you like better! I’m going to try this one as well, just for comparison and to see if there’s any way of improving my usual recipe.