Greek Spin on Classic Macaroni and Cheese

April13

I have not posted a recipe to share in a very long time.  The truth is that I have not been home to prepare a meal in a very long time.  I have been to four fund-raising events involving food in the past four days.  I have another one tomorrow…..  Do you see how Manitobans love to celebrate life with food?  

You likely know that I am a lover of comfort food and especially carbs-being the bearer of affectionate nicknames such as “Potato-loving Polak” and “The Carb Queen”.  I find it interesting that the culinary world is recently embracing my obsessions with “souped up” poutine dishes and macaroni and cheese offerings. 

I still contend that my “Gourmet Mac and Cheese” listed under recipes is the best I’ve found, but for a delicious variation-you might want to try this:

4 c elbow macaroni (I used ziti)

3 T olive oil

1 onion, chopped (I used a purple onion for colour)

1 red pepper (I used yellow), cut into strips

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 small bag of spinach, chopped (I used frozen) 

salt to taste

3 T flour

3 c milk

pepper to taste

1/8 t nutmeg

2 c grated dill Havarti (I used mozzarella and garnished with 1 t oregano)

1 c crumbled feta

Kalamata olives, pitted and halved, quantity to taste

1/2 c bread crumbs

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.  While pasta is cooking soften veggies in 1 T of the olive oil in a skillet.  Add fresh or defrosted spinach after 5 mins.  Heat until spinach has wilted and then set aside in a bowl.  Wipe skillet clean and return to stove over med. heat.  Swirl in 2 T olive oil.  When hot, whisk in the flour.  Continue to whisk while adding the s & p and nutmeg.  Continue until flour is a light golden colour.  Slowly add the milk while continuing to stir and bring to a low boil.  When it has slightly thickened add the grated Havarti and then feta.  The feta will get melty but stay in chunks.  Combine all prepared ingredients in a casserole dish and top with bread crumbs.  Bring back up to temperature in the oven and then add 5 mins. under the broiler until the crumbs are brown.

I ran out of time for the last stage and so I added the veggies to the sauce and then tossed with the pasta.  I crumbled a little more feta and sprinkled the 1 t of oregano on top (instead of the bread crumbs) to serve.  Deelish!

Kath’s quote: “What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick! It’s a sure thing! It’s a sure thing in a world where nothing is sure; it has a mathematical certainty in a world where those of us who long for some kind of certainty are forced to settle for crossword puzzles.”-Nora Ephron


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