Greek Mac and Cheese

GMC-Title

I love mac and cheese! When I saw this recipe on Saveur.com, my mouth started to water and I knew I had to make this. I wasn’t disappointed. I was however a bit concerned about the pasta to liquid ratio. It seemed like way too much liquid, but most (all) of it was absorbed by the par-cooked pasta.

My only regret with the dish is that I didn’t take better pictures. I didn’t even plan on posting until I tasted it. I knew it had to be shared. The plate pics are from the next day when I reheated it in the microwave.

This mac and cheese, was so creamy and so flavorful, I was in Greek heaven. It was almost like eating a really creamy spinach pie. I highly, highly recommend this recipe.

GMC

Notes: When it comes to measuring spices, I tend to start off conservatively with the recommended amounts and work up to my own personal taste. I only used a smidgen of nutmeg and about ½ tsp of cinnamon. Instead of white bread, I used panko (lazy man’s substitute). Also I couldn’t find the cheeses in the recipe at my market, so I used kasseri instead (I call it the “ompah” cheese).

Greek Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 3 slices crustless white bread, torn into small pieces
  • 9 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 8 oz. hollow pasta, preferably elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 cups grated graviera or kefalotyri cheese (about 12 oz.)
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 16 oz. baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 8 scallions cut into 1/4″-thick rounds
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh dill
  • 1 3/4 cups crumbled feta (about 8 oz.)

Method

Put bread into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Put bread crumbs and 3 tbsp. butter into a small bowl and combine; set aside. Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until cooked halfway through, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

Heat remaining butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Still whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in milk and cook until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 10–15 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in graviera, cinnamon, and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper; set béchamel sauce aside.

Heat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a 5-qt. pot over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until soft, 3–4 minutes. Add spinach and scallions and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the reserved béchamel sauce, the dill, and the reserved pasta and transfer mixture to a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with reserved bread crumbs and the feta. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.  

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