Real food. Real Homecooked food. Its not something I have been enjoying much of.
These last few days have been filled with dinners on the go, blogger meetups, Office parties, and lots of baking (with wine…lots of it). I realized the other day as i was finishing up a bottle of wine that all this baking has taken up my time and I havent been cooking for myself. This had to change. With the 6lbs of cookies STILL waiting for me to roll, press, and bake… I opened the 3rd bottle of wine for the week, poured myself a glass and ransacked my cupboards.
A box of Penne, 1 onion, 2 tablespoons Butter and flour, 2 cups veggie stock, 1 cup of milk, 2 cups of Part Skim Mozzarella, 1 box of chopped frozen spinach.
I figured it was a great time for some cheesey pasta… that was semi healthified with spinach.
I put up one small pot of water to cook the frozen spinach and 1 large pot to cook the penne. I let the spinach cook for about 10 minutes. When the spinach was done, i strained it and allowed it to cool. When it was cool enough to touch, I placed it in some cheesecloth and squeezed till it was bone dry. (who needs a work out when you can squeeze spinach??)
I roughly chopped the onion and added it to a small sauce pot with 2 tbsp of butter and let the onions cook for 5- 7 minutes over medium heat. When the onions were translucent, I whisked in 2 tbsp of flour.
Thick, creamy, lump free roux. While whisking, i slowly added the veggie stock making sure no lumps formed. I raised the heat a tiny bit and allowed the roux to thicken slightly. When it started to simmer, I lowered the heat and added the milk. Then while stirring in a figure 8 motion, i added the cheese. yummy. cheesey goodness.
Once the cheese was in the sauce, I then added the bone dry ball of spinach to the cheese sauce. With a little elbow grease, I managed to break apart the spinach and gently fold it into a creamy delectable sauce. I seasoned with salt and pepper accordingly. This so could have used some artichokes… but i didnt have any.
At this point I set the cheese sauce on the side to thicken a tiny bit more and the water for the pasta was a full on boil. I added a generous sprinkling of salt to the boiling water and poured in the penne. Since i like my pasta al dente, i checked the package. According to the package, the pasta would be al dente after 8 minutes… and because I never beleive what boxes say, i timed my pasta for 5 minutes. after 6 minutes it was perfect. Every stove is different too- so allow yourself a small window of opportunity to get the pasta the way you like it. When the pasta was done, i strained it and placed it in a shallow baking dish.
Then poured the cheesey sauce all over it and mixed it up to ensure it fully coated the pasta. liberally sprinkled a few handfuls of parm cheese and Mozzarella cheese, allowed it to set for 5 minutes….
and dug in.
I dont know what it is about pasta that is so comforting to me. It was creamy. Hearty. and a party in my mouth. This would make 6 normal servings… but it made ABOUT 4 Food Snob servings.
Hopefully, I will be around tomorrow to post. My office party is tonight. correction my SECOND office party is tonight… should be very very interesting.