We are using fresh baby spinach and parsley for this recipe. If you want, you can use defrosted frozen spinach, about 1 cup, and skip the blanching in step 1.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
8 ounces baby spinach
1 bunch parsley, tough stems removed, about 1 cup packed of leaves
1/2 pound (2 cups) dry elbow macaroni pasta
Salt for pasta water
1 Tbsp cream
3 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded white sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon herbs de provence (or dry tarragon or Italian herb mix)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and/or 2 finely chopped anchovies
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt to taste
- Blanch spinach and parsley: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and parsley and blanch for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove the wilted spinach and parsley to a bowl of ice water. (Do not discard the blanching water, you will use it to cook the macaroni.)
- Strain the spinach and parsley. Wrap in paper towels and squeeze out excess moisture.
- Use blanching water to cook macaroni: Return blanching water to a boil. Add salt to the pasta water, 1 Tbsp salt for every 2 quarts of water. Add the macaroni pasta and cook until very al dente. (If the box of macaroni says to cook it 7 minutes, cook it 5. It will continue to cook and absorb moisture once you mix it with the sauce.)
- Drain the macaroni, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, and set aside.
- Visit simplyrecipes.com for full method.