Monday, December 17, 2012

Steak House Mac and Cheese

Anyone up for some comfort food (with a healthy twist)?  When I saw this recipe in March, I knew I had to try it immediately.  I have made it several times (once, when my mother-in-law came for dinner) and I cannot say enough good about it.  Spinach.  Bacon.  Mushrooms.  Blue Cheese.  I have found those to be ingredients people either love or hate, but I happen to love them all.  Put them together with some penne, greek yogurt, panko, and garlic?  Let me tell you...This dish is amazing.


  • 4 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz uncooked penne pasta or macaroni
  • 3 bacon slices (I have reserved some from Sunday morning breakfast when I make it)
  • 10 oz fresh mushrooms, quartered (I have used more, depending on the package size)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I use 1 tsp jarred minced garlic)
  • 10 oz fresh baby spinach (I used most of two 6 oz bags)
  • 1/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (I don't generally have this and therefore skip it)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat 2-quart baking dish with 1 tsp oil and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt and pasta.  Cook for 6 minutes or until just barely tender.  Drain pasta but reserve one cup of the cooking liquid.
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, and crumble.  Add mushrooms to drippings (appx 2 Tbs) in pan.  Cook for 8 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.  
  4. Add pepper, garlic, and spinach (in batches) to the mushrooms; cook 3 minutes or until spinach wilts, tossing occasionally.
  5. Combine yogurt and cheese in a large bowl, stirring until almost smooth.  Add pasta and mushroom mixture toss to combine.  Stir in 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid (or more if mixture looks dry).  Spoon pasta mixture into prepared dish.
  6. Combine crumbled bacon, panko, and parsley.  Drizzle with remaining 3 teaspoons of oil; toss to combine.  Sprinkle evenly over top of pasta.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Difficulty: medium
Time: about 50 minutes total (the last 20 of which are completely hands-off)
Source:  Cooking Light magazine, March 2012, page 81

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