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Macaroni and Cheese, Greek (D, TNT)
Source: "Macaroni and Cheese: 52 Recipes, from Simple to Sublime," by Joan Schwartz
Serves: 4

1 pound macaroni
1/2 pound spinach, washed and stemmed
1-1/2 pounds crumbled Feta cheese (about 6 cups)
2-1/3 cups whole milk
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2/3 olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3/4 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 cup pitted and coarsely chopped black olives
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl.

Blanche the spinach: Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Have ready a large bowl of ice water and slotted spoon. Add the spinach to the simmering water (in three or four batches) and submerge it. Let it cook for about 15 seconds, remove with the slotted spoon, and plunge into the ice water. Let the spinach cool completely, drain it, and squeeze out the excess water. If the leaves are large, chop then into bite-size pieces. Reserve.

In a blender or food processor, puree the Feta cheese with the milk, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Blend in two batches, if necessary. This will not be completely smooth; there will be very small chunks of cheese remaining. Stir the cheese mixture into the cooked pasta, then add the minced rosemary and thyme, the garlic, red pepper flakes, olives, cherry tomatoes, and blanched spinach.

Place in a 9"x13" baking pan and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese and the mixed herbs. Bake on the middle shelf until the pasta is heated through and the top is slightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

Posted by Raquel Schnitzer

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A