Monday, November 14, 2011

Spinach & Artichoke Mac and Cheese

I LOVE mac & cheese. It is one of my go to meals mainly because you can add whatever you like to it or whatever you have on hand and it will turn out awesome. I made this recipe the night before because I was having dinner with Brittany ( my best friend, almost sister, wife in a past life etc.) I haven't seen her in awhile so I was excited to see her new pad, new dog Marley and to eat this yummy concoction.

So I show up to Brittany's and see what may be the cutest dog I have ever seen, Marley.  Since I want a dog named meatball (sooner rather than later Toby) I asked Brittany to name her new dog Spaghetti. She wanted nothing to do with it and suggested Marley's middle name be Spaghetti. So I went with it until I can get another pug to be meatball's sister and name her spaghetti. 

Not only was this night nice since I hadn't seen Brittany in awhile, but it was awesome because she asked me to be her Maid of Honor in her wedding. YEY! I accepted of course and what better way to celebrate than with mac and cheese!

Marley Spaghetti Merolli-Howard
So as I said before, I made the mac and cheese the night before and put it in the fridge until I got to Brittany's. We topped it with extra fontina and it was ready to be put in the oven for about 30 minutes to heat it through and melt cheese. I adapted this recipe from Rachael Ray's recipe, but I just do my own thing. If you need a recipe to make the cream sauce etc see below!


  • Salt
  • 1 pound of your favorite pasta ( we used shells MMmmm )
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in a kitchen towel
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped artichokes, defrosted and wrung dry in a kitchen towel( or canned artichoke hearts)
  • Black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian Fontina cheese, plus additional for sprinkling on top
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus additional for sprinkling on top 
Yields: 4 servings


Preheat oven to 375F and place rack in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta, salt water and cook pasta to al dente.
While the pasta water comes to a boil, place a medium pot over medium-low heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons, and the butter. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook the veggies until very soft, about 10 minutes.
Turn the heat up to medium-high and sprinkle the flour into the pan. Cook for about 1 minute then whisk the wine into the pan, cooking for another minute to burn off the alcohol. Whisk the milk into the pan and bring up to a bubble. Add the nutmeg, spinach, artichokes, salt and pepper to the sauce and simmer until thickened and vegetables are warmed through, 2-3 minutes more. Add 1 cup of each of the cheeses to the sauce and stir until melted.

Adding spinach & artichokes to the cream sauce

Toss the prepared sauce with the cooked pasta and transfer to a casserole dish. At this point you could freeze this( before you sprinkle the top with cheese) and then take out to defrost , top with cheese and bake!)

Sprinkle some more Fontina and Parmigiano over the top and bake until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

MMmmmm Cheesy Goodness

Yes- I had two bowls..

This was really yummy. We broiled for an extra ten minutes, but for some reason the cheese didn't brown. Ehh.- its ok. It tasted really good. If you like spinach and artichoke dip this is a must have. For a healthier twist you can use low fat cheese, whole wheat pasta ( which I use all the time, but their shapes for mac & cheese are lacking in my opinion.) Enjoy!!


  1. That sauce looks incredible! I've never tried wine in it, very interesting, I'll add it next time :) The dog story is too funny (lol)!

  2. Oh my gosh, this looks absolutely amazing! I cannot wait to give this a spinach, love artichokes and love the addition of white wine. I bet that adds a lot of depth. Thanks for sharing! And, yes, that's a pretty darn cute little dog!

  3. Glad you girls liked it! It is pretty easy and tasty! I forgot to add in the post I added some truffle oil to the sauce once I took it off the heat. It was SO GOOD. And yes- Marley is adorable. Jealous I don't have meatball so they can be friends. ;)