I feel a little guilty when I post super awesome, but cheesy, dishes to the blog because I know Elissa and my mother-in-law won’t be adding them to their repertoire for health reasons. But Five-Cheese Pasta and Spinach is just SO GOOD that I had to put it up anyway!
Based on a recipe from Everybody Likes Sandwiches, I ManckWhite-d this dish by adding a little bit of every cheese in the fridge to the creamy béchamel sauce as it bubbled away to create a really deep and delicious flavor. I loved the spinach in this dish, though of course Bill avoided it while going back for seconds… and thirds. You could also add asparagus and use whole wheat pasta, along with reduced-fat cheese and skim milk, to lighten up this dish a bit. While I just made this for a weeknight, I think it would be a great holiday side-dish or the focus for a special anniversary dinner!
Creamy Five-Cheese Pasta with Spinach
- 2 cups dried pasta (such as orchiette)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 1½ cups milk
- ½ cup 3-cheddar blend cheese, shredded
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan
- 1/8 cup feta cheese
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 3-4 cups spinach
- Cook pasta to package directions in salted water. With one minute remaining in pasta cooking time, add spinach to pasta and stir until slightly wilted. Drain pasta and spinach, set aside.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of butter to a deep skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add garlic, chili, salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the other Tablespoon of butter to the skillet and when it’s melted, whisk in the flour. Cook everything for about a minute and then slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly.
- When mixture is thick and bubbly, add in the cheeses and oregano, whisking again until smooth and creamy.
- Add pasta and spinach to the sauce and stir to coat and combine.
This is a super-decadent and rich pasta dish that’s hard to resist! The five cheeses combine to make a smooth sauce that coats the pasta, but the spinach adds a little freshness to the plate. You might want to save this indulgence for special occasions or side dish status.