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Author Notes: This is my aromatic take on the classic macaroni and cheese, the curly rotini noodles hold this creamy and Earthy sauce all throughout its nook and crannies. You can feel good both inside and out with this more healthful version on a dish that can get pretty heavy. Sneaking in the wheat germ adds extra fiber and nobody will ever know! —JennT1981
- 1 splash non-stick cooking spray
- 4 cups water, for boiling
- 2 cups rotini
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 packet dry leek soup mix
- 1 bunch fresh spinach, stemmed
- 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash cracked pepper
- 3/4 cup ricotta, whipped with a fork
- 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and diced
- In a large pot bring water to a boil. Add rotini and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain, without rinsing and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium sauce pan heat butter over medium heat and add garlic, shallot and onion. Cook just until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes, being careful not to burn garlic.
- Add flour and whisk while cooking about 3 minutes. Pour in milk whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer until slightly thickened, about another 3 minutes.
- Add spinach, mushrooms, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook until wilted and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- In a large bowl combine pasta, sauce mix, ricotta and mozzarella; stir until evenly distributed.
- Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
- In a small bowl combine wheat germ and bread crumbs and mix. Evenly sprinkle over casserole and top with diced butter.
- Bake about 35 to 40 minutes until golden and bubbly. Let rest about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Baked Pasta
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