26 September 2012

Messicani with Spinach & Cheese Sauce


Here's the equation for you. 1 bag of spinach + 1 toddler = resistance. How to get said bag of spinach cooked and into toddler. Solution = get him to help with the cooking.

And so I came up with this pasta dish. Messicani pasta coated in a sliky cheese sauce, flecked with vibrant green spinach.

Cooper weighed the ingredients, grated the cheese, squeezed the water out of the spinach (once it had been doused in cold water) and stirred the sauce.

The result = "Mmmmmm, this very tasty mummy, we made it good!".





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Messicani with Spinach & Cheese Sauce
Pasta coated in silky cheese sauce and flecked with vibrant green spinach. I love this dish!
Ingredients
  • 40g butter
  • 45g plain flour
  • 650ml hot milk
  • 100g mature cheddar
  • 25g grated parmesan
  • 3 cloves garlic cut in half
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a generous grating of ground nutmeg
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • 1 large bag spinach
  • 500g messicani pasta
Instructions
1. Infuse the hot milk with the three cloves of garlic, bay leaves, thyme and a little grated nutmeg. Leave for 10 minutes. Melt the butter in a pan on a low heat, then add the flour and cook out for five minutes, stirring regularly.2. Pour the infused milk mixture (strain it first to get rid of the garlic etc), little by little, into the flour and butter mix (roux), stirring all the time, with the heat on low, so it will not burn on the bottom of the pan.3. Then add the pepper and bring to a slow simmer for five minutes at a slow temperature, stirring constantly, before you add the cheese.4. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.5. Wash the spinach in a colander and then pour a kettle full of boiling water over it. Once it has wilted, refresh with cold water. Squeeze as much water out of it as you can.6. Chop the spinach and mix through the cheese sauce.7. Mix the sauce through the cooked pasta and serve.
Details
Total time:
Yield: Serves 4-6 

37 comments:

  1. Ahhh Jacqueline this looks amazing. With the weather as it is, I could totally go for this!

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    1. It was so good Becca, it is definitely going to be one I make regularly.

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  2. A tasty & easy pasta dish full of great flavours too! :)

    MMMMMMMMMM!

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  3. Ooooooh this is making me rather hungry!!! Great way of getting spinach into kids!...or my Dad...he's just as fussy :) and there's nothing like a good cheese sauce! x

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    1. You should try it on your dad then Emmy. Let me know how you get on :)

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  4. Someday Cooper will be cooking you delicious meals in his own kitchen.

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    1. I do hope so Val. He already makes me pretend meals :)

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  5. This is a delicious way to cook spinach! I use a similar recipe for my Vegetable Lasagne..I never thought to use it on top of pasta! Good!!

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    1. Oh that does sound good Rita. Great idea :)

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  6. A great way to add some greens!

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    1. I do have to be creative sometimes Pam, although not with peas. He could eat peas until they came out of his ears :)

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  7. Lovely recipe and clever of you to get him to help :)

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    1. It was sneaky of me, but it did work :)

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  8. Jac, quick question - the nephew here is just three since May, and I cannot imagine him grating anything but his knuckles. Do you have a specific kind of grater? Or do you have another way to do it? I don't know how to make the kitchen safe for a wean that teensy - and nosy and busy and apt to splash, splatter, spill and taste raw eggs! ☺

    You're a brave mum.

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    1. I stood with him while he did it and made sure he had a big enough piece so it went no where near his knuckles. We used a box grater. Cooper is pretty good & will listen to instructions. The only danger comes if he has to wait too long and decides to measure out more ingredients on his own.

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  9. I am so in agreement with you. Every time the children help with cooking they always et it with pride. It got them liking mushrooms so I must try them with squeezing the spinach next time!

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    1. Good luck Laura. Cut it fine & maybe tell them about Popeye.

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  11. Yay for spinach loving toddlers :-) Will be trying this recipe for sure! Thanks, Jacqueline!

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  12. Very clever - and I could eat a whole pot myself - but my toddler is like her father and detests cheese sauce, or melted cheese of any kind. 'No, Mummy, I don't want cottage' she wails as soon as she sees me with a block of feta (thinking it is cottage cheese). She ate all sorts of cheese - even naughty, runny ones - when she first ate solids, but not now. Sigh. Oh well. More of this for me!

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    1. They do change there mind about food as they get older, that is for sure.

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  13. That's so sweet. I tell you Jac, you have a chef in the making there. You're little one has a good teacher, that is for sure. xo

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    1. Thanks Lisa, he does enjoy helping in the kitchen.

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  14. I am not too keen in spinach either, but if Cooper's approved, gotta be good :)

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    1. I hope he has persuaded you to try it Alex :)

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  15. I mean I love spinach and greens now but when I was little mum could never get me to eat it!

    What a clever little chicken your Cooper is :D

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    1. Thanks Emma, it is one battle at a time with little ones, but we get there in the end :)

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  16. What a very nice looking dish. I love the combo of spinach and pasta.

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  17. My Dad used to get my Nephew, Gary, to eat all sorts of veg by telling him it was spinach and would make him big and strong like Popeye.

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    1. I think that was common when Popeye was on tv. I think it may have been said to me when I was little. Kids today won't even know who Popeye is.

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  18. That would make a great mid-week dinner. I like the idea of the garlic-infused milk. I have tried something similar making the cheese sauce with a whole clove of garlic in, but it wasn't very garlicky, so I'll try your way!

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    1. You could always finely grate some garlic in for a stronger flavour :)

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  19. isn't he gorgeous - on the odd occasion I have got sylvia to eat baby spinach leaves by wrapping them around cheese or hummus but I wish she would eat them in pasta like this!

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    1. Well, I don't think Cooper would eat it that way. He isn't a great fan of hummus. I thought he would love it, but he really isn't sure about it :(

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I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x

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