Real food. Real Homecooked food. Its not something I have been enjoying much of.

Crazy, right?

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.