Featured Wisconsin Cheeses: Gruyère, Parmesan
We make this dish at Foster’s Market almost every day when the weather turns cool. There are endless variations such as country ham, chicken, chorizo, artichokes and roasted red peppers. This is one of my favorites because the cheese defines the dish here. Adding the spinach is my idea of getting your greens in, which makes it a perfect one-dish meal.
Creamy Macaroni & Cheese with Spinach
Serves 6 to 8
1 pound penne (or any bite-size pasta shape such as ziti)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the dish
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
3 cups (12 ounces) grated Wisconsin Gruyère Cheese
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) grated Wisconsin Parmesan Cheese
2 5-ounce bags baby spinach (about 10 loosely packed cups)
1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Texas Pete® or Tabasco®)
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add pasta and cook al dente according to the package directions. (It is usually 1 or 2 minutes less than the cooking time on the package.) Drain the penne using a colander; put drained pasta in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly about 4 minutes until the flour is slightly cooked.
Slowly whisk in the milk and cream and bring to a low boil, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the Gruyère, Parmesan and spinach until the cheese melts and the spinach wilts. Remove from the heat and stir in the marjoram and hot sauce. Add the cheese sauce to the pasta, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat the pasta.
Spoon the pasta into the prepared baking dish, scraping all the sauce from the bowl, and place in the oven to bake, about 45 minutes or until bubbling around the edges and slightly brown on top. Remove the pasta from the oven and let stand for about 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
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Gruyère, Macaroni & Cheese, Parmesan, Recipe, Wisconsin Cheese
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