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BackstoryI got this idea from an Eating Light magazine a couple of years ago. I am not big on defatting my food, I just eat smaller portions. Regardless of this philosophy, I went ahead and tried the recipe as it was published, complete with skim milk and silicone dioxide spray on the pan (PAM). The results? The sauce was extremely runny and never set properly, the noodles were squishy and the whole wheat breadcrumbs never browned and became soggy. So, with my philosphy reinforced, fat makes all things delicious, here is a full fat content version of their recipe built around a slightly fat enriched Mornay sauce. OK, so the only thing that really remains of the original recipe is the idea of Gouda & Spinach together...
- 1/2 cup Panko
- 3 TB unsalted butter
- 2 Shallots minced fine
- 1 Garlic cloves, minced
- 3 TB AP Flour
- 1 1/2 cup Whole Milk (If you use goat milk, use 2 cups and drop the 1/2 & 1/2)
- 1/2 cup Half and Half
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp ground White or Green pepper
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
- 1 cup shredded Gouda (I use Goat milk Gouda from Trader Joes, it melts better)
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 10 oz pkg frozen spinach (thawed and excess water squeezed out)
- 2 1/2 cups uncooked elbow pasta
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Drop Elbow or Conchiglia (shells) into salted boiling water;
- Cook for 2 minutes less than package directions;
- Drain well for elbows like to hold onto water.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 TB butter.
- When Foam subsides, add onions and garlic;
- Sauté about 1 minute.
- Add flour and stir to coat;
- Continue cooking for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until onion roux is light blonde.
- Gradually add milk, half and half, salt, mustard powder and pepper, whisking constantly until blended and smooth.
- Bring to a boil, continuing to whisk constantly.
- Cook until white sauce becomes thick.
- Add cheeses a little at a time and stir until melted and smooth before next addition.
- Add spinach and macaroni to mornay sauce, stirring until well blended.
- Remove saucepan from heat and mix in 1/4 cup of the Pecorino Romano
- Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish rubbed with olive oil or butter.
- Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Romano cheese, then with Panko.
- Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until bubbly
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