I am back from my time in Mexico but I have one last post from my travels to share with you. This is by far the best 'macaroni and cheese style' bake I have ever eaten. Who knew that if you add a serrano pepper and spinach to the mix that it would elevate it beyond the average attempt? Well, I guess Frida Kahlo did!
Spicy Penne Pasta Bake
1 lb fresh baby spinach leaves
1 serrano chile, chopped coarsely
salt + pepper, to taste
2 T unsalted butter
2 T flour
1 c hot milk
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 lb macaroni (I used penne)
3/4 - 1 c grated parmesan
Cook the macaroni in boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain throughly. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook washed spinach (with the water that clings to the leaves) and the chile with a pinch of salt until limp. Cool for a minute and then pureé in a food processor. Melt the butter, stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes without browning. Add the milk and cream, a bit of salt and pepper, stirring with a whisk to keep it smooth. Cook until thickened and then add the spinach pureé. Pour some of the sauce on the bottom of a buttered casserole dish. Add the macaroni and the remaining sauce. Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until the top is brown and the casserole bubbly. Serves 6-8.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"