I’m so glad I took a DNA test from Ancestry.com or I would never have found out I’m part Irish. You’d think with a family of gingers I would have known.
I want to wish everyone a Happy and Safe St. Patrick’s Day. This Irish Spinach Mac and Cheese is a fun way to celebrate the day with your children or grandchildren.
You’ll need a food processor to make this recipe. Total Time to prepare and cook is approximately 1 hour. Serves 4-6.
8 ounces fresh baby spinach or 1 cup frozen spinach
FYI: We are using fresh baby spinach, but if you are using a cup of frozen spinach skip step 1, the blanching step.
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
1. Blanch the fresh spinach and parsley. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the spinach and parsley and blanch for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove the parsley and spinach and place them in a bowl of ice water. DO NOT discard the blanching water as you will use it to cook the macaroni. Remove the spinach and parsley from the bowl of ice water and place them on some paper towels. Blot them to remove excess liquid.
2. Return the blanching water to boil add 1 tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water. Add macaroni and cook it al dente. If the box instructions say cook for 8 minutes, only cook for 6 minutes. The macaroni will continue to cook when it’s added to the sauce. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
3. While the macaroni is cooking, In your food processor purée the spinach and parsley with a tablespoon of the cream until smooth.
4. Make your white roux. In a medium size saucepan add the butter. Once the butter has melted add in the garlic and cook 20-30 seconds then add the flour, stir to combine. Remove from heat and slowly add in your milk whisking continuously (best to use a flat whisk to get rid of lumps). Return to the heat and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens.
5. Add in your seasonings and cheeses, stir until cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Add in the spinach and parsley, stir to combine. Add in the macaroni and fold it into the sauce, mix well. Taste test to see if more salt is needed. If you want you can add some cheese to the top and broil for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese melts. Yum Yum!
My little Irish gingers