Spinach and pesto macaroni cheese

    1 hour 5 min

    Macaroni with pesto, spinach and three cheeses is topped with coarse breadcrumbs and baked until golden and delicious!

    2 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 150g macaroni pasta
    • 225g baby spinach leaves, or to taste
    • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
    • 1 small onion, minced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 4 tablespoons prepared basil pesto, divided
    • 2 tablespoons plain flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 500ml milk
    • 200g grated Cheddar cheese, divided
    • 60g grated Parmesan cheese, divided
    • 80g grated Asiago cheese, divided
    • 4 slices granary bread with crusts, cubed

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in:1hr5min 

    1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Lightly grease a baking dish.
    2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Cook macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Add spinach to the pot in the last minute of cooking; drain.
    3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir onion until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir garlic into onion mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk 2 tablespoons pesto, flour, black pepper and salt into onion mixture until smooth; whisk milk in gradually. Cook and stir milk mixture until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes; stir in 3/4 of the grated cheeses; remove saucepan from heat and stir until cheeses are melted, about 1 minute.
    4. Stir cheese mixture into macaroni mixture; pour into prepared dish. Cover dish with foil.
    5. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove dish from oven; increase oven temperature to 230 C / Gas 8.
    6. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons pesto, remaining grated cheeses and bread cubes. Spoon this mixture on top of baked pasta; return dish to oven and bake until bubbly and golden, about 10 minutes.

    Parmesan cheese:

    Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.

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    Reviews in English (5)


    Thank you for this recipe! I doubled it and made it as a Thanksgiving side dish -- lots of rave reviews.  -  25 Nov 2016  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    Followed the recipe exactly except used fettuccine noodles instead of elbow macaroni and added one can of artichoke hearts (drained and chopped) when mixing the noodles with the cheese mixture. For the topping, I used the same ingredients as the recipe stated but substituted packaged plain bread crumbs for the cubed bread crusts . The family loved it. Great for a pot luck!  -  03 Mar 2017  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I used penne instead of macaroni, and a blend of italian, cheddar and parmesan cheeses and skipped the bread chunks, just based on what I had on hand, otherwise I followed the recipe. It was very good. Everyone at the table really enjoyed it.  -  26 Jun 2018  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)