The sophisticated mac and cheese
I am the first to admit that I have a particular fondness for mac and cheese with ketchup. Something about gluten free pasta with creamy cheese and tangy tomato just makes me happy. Yes, I know – just add this to the growing list of reasons why I will never be considered a foodie.
What I am not a big fan of however, is how long it typically takes to make a great mac and cheese. When I am hungry, I am hungry now. I want to eat and I want to eat fast.
This recipe does two things, one it takes the concept of mac and cheese with ketchup and elevates it to a sophisticated new level. It’s not macaroni, it’s pasta. Plus anything with the words “sun-dried tomatoes” and “pesto” in it just sounds foodie. Maybe with that I will be able to salvage at least a tiny vestige of my reputation. Secondly, it is ready in about 20 minutes, and that’s if it takes a long time for your pasta water to boil.
I took a couple shortcuts here – I used jarred sun-dried tomato pesto instead of ketchup and for the cheese part of the dish I used Boursin, a garlic and herb cheese. Then I threw in a few handfuls of baby spinach – which I got from a bag, pre-washed and everything – and in no time flat I had a creamy, delicious sauce that I tossed with pasta.
For the pasta I used gluten free vegetable rotini because I love the way the curlicues really hang on to all that
½ cup sun-dried tomato pesto
5.2 ounces garlic and fine herb cheese (such as Boursin)
3 cups baby spinach
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated (garnish)
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (garnish)
Crushed red pepper flakes (garnish)
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the directions. Reserve about 1 ½ cups of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and return to the hot pot.
In a large skillet, heat the sun-dried tomato pesto with the garlic and herb cheese and about ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water over medium heat.
Add the spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted and the sauce is hot. Add to the pasta and toss to coat. Add more pasta water if need. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
If desired, serve the pasta with grated parmesan cheese, pine nuts and crushed red pepper flakes.
While I will never give up on my mac and