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This dish combines a traditional from-scratch macaroni and cheese with
a healthful pesto, made with spinach in addition to the usual basil. The result
is a green mac and cheese that’s not super cheesy yet loses none of the
richness and flavor of the original.
8 ounces (227 grams) short gluten-free pasta (e.g.,
2 cups (90 grams) packed spinach
½ cup (18 grams) fresh basil leaves
¼ cup (37 grams) raw cashew pieces
4 ounces (113 grams) sharp cheddar
cheese, cut into cubes
¼ cup (23 grams) plus 2 tablespoons
grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 cup (240 milliliters) milk
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Grease a 9 x 9-inch (23 x 23 cm) baking pan or 2-quart (1.9 L) casserole with
nonstick cooking spray or olive oil.
Bring a large pot of salted water
to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
Meanwhile, combine the spinach,
basil, cashews, cheddar, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, and garlic in the food processor
and process until a paste forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add ¾
cup milk. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining milk, the egg,
and a dash each of salt and pepper and process until incorporated.
In a large bowl, mix the cooked
pasta with the spinach mixture. Pour into the prepared pan. Top with the remaining
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is lightly
browned and the pasta is set.
PESTO MACARONI: Omit the cheddar,
Parmesan, milk, and egg. Toss the spinach mixture with the hot cooked and
drained noodles, but do not bake
Kids can ...
Collect ingredients from the
pantry and refrigerator
Dump ingredients into the food
Press the food processor buttons
Crack the egg
Mix the pasta and spinach mixture together
with a spoon