Prep 0 mins
Cook 55 mins
Our mac-and-cheese makeover wins raves of approval, having all the comfort and great taste of its predecessors with a substantially more healthful profile. It uses whole-wheat pasta and includes a colorful layer of spinach. It's also a winner for make-ahead convenience.
- 2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, 6 ounces
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup low fat cottage cheese
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 3⁄4 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
- 10 ounces frozen spinach
- 1⁄4 teaspoon paprika
- 3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups whole wheat macaroni
- Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil. Preheat oven to 450°F Coat an 8-inch square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.
- Mix breadcrumbs, oil and paprika in a small bowl. Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain and refresh under cold water; press out excess moisture.
- Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup milk and flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Cheddar until melted. Stir in cottage cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Cook pasta for 4 minutes, or until not quite tender. (It will continue to cook during baking.) Drain and add to the cheese sauce; mix well. Spread half the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish. Spoon the spinach on top. Top with the remaining pasta; sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake the casserole until bubbly and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.