Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese

Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese - www.countrycleaver.com

What is the one appetizer that you alway want whenever you go to a restaurant? Whenever we’re out and about the one standard, Must Have appetizer always comes down to Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Always. That and a big heaping bowl of whatever your chosen restaurant’s mac and cheese is for an entree. Something ultra creamy and dripping with goo. And combining those two magical worlds was something of divine intervention – it was destiny.

And cheese.

Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese - www.countrycleaver.com


The Wisconsin Cheese Board is celebrating 30 days of Mac and Cheese and wanting you to experience all the greatness that is THE Wisconsin Cheese. Havarit, Parmesan and Cheddar are all included here for a creamy, tangy and savory mac and cheese that reminds you just how great childhood was with endless bowls of mac and cheese – but so much better than the stuff that came from the blue box as a kid.

We’re adults – we are officially sophisticated now. And we deserve a sophisticated, nee extrodinary. This is totes both. Jump on over to the Wisconsin Cheese Board’s where I’m kicking off the first day of their 30 Days, 30 Ways with Mac and Cheese  and see what else is being cooked up in kitchens all over the country!

Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese - www.countrycleaver.com 3

Click below to see the rest of this recipe! And don’t forget to save it to your Ziplist Recipe Box, by clicking the “save” button in the recipe section!

And yes, three weeks ago when I said that I would have this for you “soon” – I strung you along with pictures of this on Facebook, like a one of the hot popular cheerleaders in high school promising a date to the nerdy kid so you follow me (the hypothetical cheerleader) around like a little puppy.  This is the recipe equivalent of me stringing you along. I didn’t mean to, I swear! But I promise, unlike the cheerleader (or I suppose since mostly women read this blog – we should reference the hot high school quarterback) who said “no” to taking you me to prom, I’m giving you this recipe and I won’t string you along anymore. I promise.

On the plus side – at least this recipe was worth the wait – unlike that hot cheerleader or high school quarterback… he’s not hot anymore and she got got a super classy tattoo of barbed wire on her arm that has stretched out and now looks like a picket fence. Bullet dodged.

But this is a cheese, carby bullet that you just have to take.

Yield: 6

Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 6-ounce bag fresh spinach*

1 14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, roughly chopped, and divided

4 ounces (1/2 cup) cream cheese, softened

1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin Parmesan Cheese, shredded and divided

2 tablespoons shallots, minced

2 tablespoons garlic, minced and divided

1 12-ounce box whole wheat penne pasta

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup (4 ounces) medium Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin Havarti Cheese, shredded

1 tablespoon sriacha sauce


Preheat oven to 400°F. If using fresh spinach, heat olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat, add spinach and wilt. Remove to plate to cool. Squeeze excess water from spinach. Set aside.

In small bowl, combine half of drained spinach and half of chopped artichoke hearts. Stir in softened cream cheese and ½ cup Parmesan Cheese. Stir in shallots and 1 tablespoon garlic. Pour mixture into oven- safe baking dish and bake for 15 minutes or until the mixture is toasted on top and heated through. Remove from oven; cover to keep warm and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. In medium pot, melt butter and whisk in flour. Continue whisking vigorously over medium high heat until roux becomes golden brown. Add milk slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking during each addition. Bring mixture to boil. Add mustard, pepper, 1 tablespoon garlic, remaining cheeses and sriacha sauce. Stir in reserved spinach and artichokes, mixing until evenly incorporated.

Pour pasta into cheese mixture; mix to ensure all pasta is coated evenly. Plate and top with a generous spoonful of warm spinach and artichoke mixture. Serve and devour.