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Author Notes: For this I was looking for creamy mac and cheese without an overpowering cheddar bite. The ricotta smooths it all out, the cayenne and white pepper gives a warm bite, plus my husband will eat anything that has spinach in it. —inpatskitchen
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- A few gratings of nutmeg
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1 cup grated medium cheddar cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 3 handfuls ( or more) fresh baby spinach leaves
- 8 ounces ziti or shells, cooked al dente
- 1/2 cup grated medium cheddar for the topping
- In a medium sauce pot melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a light roux.
- Over medium heat, slowly add the milk while continually whisking. Whisk until the mixture thickens.
- Add the nutmeg, cayenne, basil, salt and pepper and stir. Stir in the the ricotta and cheddar until melted
- Stir in the spinach leaves and stir the mixture until the spinach wilts.
- Combine the cooked pasta with the cheese spinach mixture and turn into small shallow casserole dish ( I used a nine inch round ceramic baking dish). Sprinkle the 1/2 cup cheddar over the top.
- Bake at 350F for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Fresh Ricotta
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