Grown-Up Mac n’ Cheese

grownupmacncheese2Grown-Up Mac ‘n Cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) gluten-free/whole-wheat penne
  • 1 lb. spinach leaves, trimmed
  • ¼ cup olive oil or butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour/gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fat-free milk/soy milk
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese/Daiya cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg, optional
  • Optional toppings: chopped tomatoes, hot sauce, scallions, etc.

the method:

  1. Cook penne according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Heat large pot over medium-high heat. Add spinach, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted, stirring with tongs to cook all leaves. Drain, and press out any excess liquid. Coarsely chop wilted spinach, and set aside.grownupmacncheese1
  3. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, then add penne, spinach, 1/2 cup Parmesan, garlic, and nutmeg, if using, to sauce, and stir until well coated. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Transfer to prepared baking dish, sprinkle remaining 2 Tbs. Parmesan over mixture, and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until top is browned.Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 11- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Baked Caprese Pasta (GF)

pastaBaked Caprese Pasta (GF)
the ingredients:

1 pound gluten-free pasta (I used brown rice penne from Trader Joe’s)

1 cup of your favorite pasta/tomato sauce

1/3 cup soy milk (or cow’s milk/heavy cream/half and half)

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for garnish

4 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into cubes

1 pint of grape tomatoes (sliced in half)

1 bunch of fresh basil leaves

the method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil water and cook pasta according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat tomato sauce over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in soy milk and grated parmesan. Once pasta is done cooking, drain and dump into the sauce, mixing to coat and turning off heat. Fold in mozzarella cubes and tomatoes, then chop 3-4 fresh basil leaves and add them in too. Once combined, spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire pasta mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Top with additional fresh basil and grated cheese. I served Nick’s with some spicy Italian sausage – he had no complaints.