Monday, May 12, 2008

Florentine Mac & Cheese with Turkey Sausage Meatballs



This recipe seems to be going around the blogworld lately and everyone's been raving about it. But it's a Rachael recipe.

I decided to give it a chance anyway because it seemed pretty basic. Just macaroni and cheese made with parmesan and spinach, with some meatballs. (She used ground chicken, I went turkey.)

We LOVED it. Landon gobbled up an entire bowl which shocked me like you wouldn't believe. My kid ate spinach! woo. Even Spencer liked it although he did tell me to cut back on the spinach next time.

Just as a warning: it made a ton of food. I filled up two containers of leftover pasta and another container of meatballs. She had to have made her meatballs huge to get only 8 of them!

Florentine Mac and Cheese with Chicken Sausage Meatballs
from Food Network

Salt
1 pound cavatappi corkscrew shaped hallow pasta
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
Black pepper
2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs, plus more, if needed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 boxes, 10 ounces, chopped frozen spinach
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place a large pot of water on to boil for pasta. When it comes to a boil, salt it and add the pasta to cook to al dente. Strain pasta reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

While the water is coming to a boil, in a large mixing bowl combine the chicken, salt and pepper, rosemary, fennel seeds, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano - a rounded handful, egg and bread crumbs. *If the mixture seems too wet, add a handful of bread crumbs and mix together.

Form 8 large round balls, about 3 to 4-inches. Coat balls in a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and lightly grease a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Arrange balls on the baking sheet and roast 17 to 18 minutes until juices run clear.

Defrost spinach in microwave 8 to 10 minutes on "defrost" setting depending on the microwave. Place the boxes in a shallow dish to catch any run off.

While the meatballs roast, in a medium sauce pot over medium heat, melt butter, whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in stock and milk, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and thicken 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 cup grated Parmigiano and reduce heat on lowest setting.

Wring spinach completely dry in clean kitchen towel then separate as you add it to the sauce. Also add the reserved 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Toss pasta with the spinach-white sauce and adjust seasonings.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Looks good ,the last one looked really good too !