Spinach Power Pesto Macaroni and Cheese
Another take on our beloved macaroni and cheese!
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1½ cups elbow macaroni
- 8ounces baby spinach leaves, or to taste
- 3tablespoons butter, divided
- 1small onion, minced
- 2cloves garlic, minced
- ¼cup prepared basil pesto, divided
- 2tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼teaspoon salt
- 2cups milk
- 1¾ cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
- ¾cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- ¾cup shredded Asiago cheese, divided
- 4slices multigrain bread with crusts, cubed
Step 1Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a casserole dish.
Step 2Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Add baby spinach to the pot in the last minute of cooking; drain.
Step 3Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir garlic into onion mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk 2 tablespoons pesto, flour, black pepper, and salt into onion mixture until smooth; whisk milk in gradually. Cook and stir milk mixture until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes; stir in 1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup Asiago cheese; remove saucepan from heat and stir until cheeses are melted, about 1 minute.
Step 4Stir cheese mixture into macaroni mixture; pour into prepared casserole dish. Cover dish with aluminum foil.
Step 5Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove casserole from oven; increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Step 6Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons pesto, 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup Asiago cheese, and bread cubes. Remove casserole dish from oven, uncover, and top with bread mixture.
Step 7Bake casserole with topping in the preheated oven, uncovered, until bubbly and golden, about 10 minutes.