Updated: Apr 24
I loved this recipe. It currently ranks as the best one Mac 'N Cheese recipes I have made, and I have tried quite a few recipes over the years. This cookbooks is quite amazing. The recipes have wonderful combinations of flavors and ingredients, not your normal run of the mill.
This is a bit of work to make, but I think you will agree that it is worth the effort. For more recipes from this book click here.
1 lb any small pasta with holes, and or ridges. You want something that will catch the sauce. Cook as per bag instructions, cool, separate and set aside.
Small box of baby spinach.
The recipe calls to sauté them. I put them in a microwave safe container with 3-4 table spoons water and microwave for 4 minutes. Remove, cool, squeeze out as much water as you can, chop fine and set aside.
2 large leeks, light green and white parts, washed well, and sliced fine
1/2 cup cream sherry
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1- 1 1/2 cups milk, or half milk and half cream (I use milk to be healthy).
2/3 cup full fat ricotta (full fat please, you have not used cream)
6 oz sharp cheddar, slices or grated
4 oz soft chèvre
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground garlic (optional)
Olive oil and butter (half and half)
Heat olive oil in a very large container, large enough to contain and mix the pasta. Add the leeks and cook on medium to medium high till they are well colored. Add the cream sherry and cook off almost the liquid, you will have a gooey sticky mess. Add the four and mix well. The flour should be wet and coat the leeks evenly. Add more oil if needed. Cook for 1-2 minutes till the flour has cooked in the fat (you are making a roux at this point). Add black pepper and nutmeg and cook for 1 minute. Add milk, cold, all at once and stir on low heat well to get rid of all lumps and make a smooth sauce. Stir well and break up the lumps, it will happen. Once smooth and the sauce has thickened, add all cheeses. Make stove medium low and stir to melt all the cheese into the sauce. You need to do this over low heat, or the sauce can split and you will have to toss it. Once incorporated and smooth, add the vinegar, and taste for salt. Adjust as needed. The sauce should be a bit runny.
To the runny sauce, add spinach and pasta, and mix till the pasta is well coated and everything is well incorporated. Turn off heat. Do not make this too dry. If it does dry out add a touch of milk or cream, not water.
Put the mix into a pyrex dish. I like to sprinkle some Panko breadcrumbs on top. Bake uncovered in the middle of the oven at 350°F for 20 -25 minutes, till the top is well browned. Sit for 3-4 minutes and serve.
It seems like a lot but is quite easy.