Lightly Cheddared Spinach Ricotta Mac And Cheese

March 16, 2011

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.


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 This Recipe


  1. In a medium sauce pot melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a light roux.
  2. Over medium heat, slowly add the milk while continually whisking. Whisk until the mixture thickens.
  3. Add the nutmeg, cayenne, basil, salt and pepper and stir. Stir in the the ricotta and cheddar until melted
  4. Stir in the spinach leaves and stir the mixture until the spinach wilts.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake at 350F for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.

More Great Recipes:
Pasta|Macaroni and Cheese|Milk/Cream|Nutmeg|Spinach|Vegetable|Ricotta|Cheese|Serves a Crowd|Vegetarian|Entree

Reviews (4) Questions (0)

4 Reviews

DeborahBetty February 3, 2017
Finally I found my perfect mac & cheese. After too many failed mac & cheese recipes I was delighted when I found this one. After making this a few times I decided to adjust my cheese, I used ⅔ medium cheddar and ⅓ sharp (using a quality block of cheese). It seems this is a winner for all those that have eaten it at my home. Recently instead of using spinach I used kale. While I did sauté the kale in a little onion/garlic, then added it to the sauce I found the flavor was amazing, a little more work than just tossing in spinach but well worth the added time in the kitchen. As a vegetarian this is now my go-to meal as it freezes well.
Author Comment
inpatskitchen February 3, 2017
Kale sounds perfect! Thanks so much!
AntoniaJames March 16, 2011
Mmmmm. Yum. I have some nice Dubliner on hand, as well as some perfectly gorgeous chard, which I plan to use in this within the next few days. My son who's home from college on spring break is going to love it. Great recipe!! ;o)
Author Comment
inpatskitchen March 16, 2011
Thanks AntoniaJames...I think the Dubliner and chard would be perfect I even think if my grandchildren could get past the green, they'd even love it since all five are pasta and cheese freaks!