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Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese

Spinach and artichoke dip meets macaroni and cheese with this incredible spinach and artichoke mac and cheese! Bits of spinach and tangy artichoke are combined with a creamy nutmeg infused cheese sauce. Topped with a sprinkling of panko bread crumbs for added texture and this delicious comfort food will be your new favorite!

We know you love spinach and artichoke with all the love for the Artichoke Feta Dip recipe we received, so we know you will enjoy this creamy, artichoke, and melty cheese-filled pasta bake. A welcome twist to your everyday comfort food.

Place setting with bowl of artichoke topped pasta

When you combine two things everyone loves you get one big mouthful of yum! Spinach and artichoke pasta is one of those flavor combinations that everyone goes crazy for.

On its own, baked macaroni and cheese has a distinct aroma but with the additional ingredients that aroma will have everyone eagerly anticipating that first mouthwatering bite.

The signature sizzling sound of the bubbling cheese as it’s coming out of the oven, that golden brown cheesy topping, and the crispy panko crumbs is the warming comfort food you’ll want to carry you through the colder months.

This spinach and artichoke pasta bake is a great vegetarian dinner option. If you want to add a bit more protein to the meal try adding some chicken or turkey. It is one of those unforgettable dishes that is so easy to make which is great for easy weeknight dinners, low key weekends or even potlucks and barbecues.

A great macaroni and cheese is something that every home cook should know how to make, and this is a great one to start with!

What are artichokes?

An artichoke is basically the flower bud part of a thistle— the core is edible before the flower fully blooms. It is surrounded by choke (which is actually quite poisonous if eaten in large quantities) and once fully bloomed it is no longer edible.

You have to wonder why someone ever decided to eat one!

With the super prickly leaves and the thistle that is awful, someone must have seen the diamond in the rough. Whatever the reason, the heart itself is absolutely delicious.

It can be prepared in many ways and preserved typically either in oil or water. It can be used as an ingredient in dishes or simply eaten on its own as a snack. They pair well with cheeses and olives as part of a charcuterie board.

ingredients for artichoke pasta

Ingredients to shop for

  • Macaroni – There is no hard and fast rule about which pasta to use, so use whichever you like! Elbow macaroni is a great choice– I try and pick on that the cheese can get all into.
  • Artichokes – Buy the canned whole ones in the water and cut them into eighths, otherwise they are just too large. Buying whole ones gets you a better quality. You can definitely also use the ones that come in oil, but you’ll just want to wipe away any excess oil.
  • Spinach– I used frozen because it’s an easy way to always have the ingredients on hand to make.
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Cheese – I use white cheddar and gouda– but any hard cheese will work. Swiss, Monterey jack, regular cheddar, Edam are great. I don’t recommend American because it doesn’t seem to coat the pasta as well
  • Nutmeg – You may wonder about this.  It adds a depth of flavor in the cheese sauce but by all means don’t stress if you don’t have it.
  • Salt and Pepper – To taste
  • Panko bread crumbs – Better than regular as they are a lighter and crispier texture. They will not get soggy and will bring everything together. (Alternatively, you could top them with these super easy Copycat French’s Onion Strings.)
  • Parsley – This is an option to add to your panko topping. Adds a burst of color for presentation!

PRO TIP
Buy blocks of cheese and grate it yourself. Not only is it cheaper, but there are no additives for anti-clumping so you will get a creamier sauce

How to make macaroni & cheese with roux sauce

  • Preheat the oven and boil the pasta to al dente according to directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Drain the artichokes and cut them into small bite sized pieces.
  • Place spinach in a colander and run warm water over the top to allow it to thaw. Press any remaining water out with a paper towel. If you have previously thawed your spinach, do the same by squeezing any excess water.
  • Melt butter on the stovetop in a small pan and sprinkle the flour in and stir. Creating a roux. Then add the milk slowly whisking continuously making sure the milk is blending well with the flour mixture. Continue adding the remaining milk while whisking making sure there are no lumps.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce, continuing to stir until it starts to thicken.
  • Add the nutmeg and the grated cheese and stir until all melted together and has reached a creamy consistency (you know, the ooey gooey kind).
  • Combine the cheese sauce, spinach and artichoke hearts with the pasta and stir to combine.
  • Melt a bit of butter (even in the microwave) and add it to the Panko along with the parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Sprinkle over the top of the pasta and bake until Panko is golden brown, the sauce is bubbly and your family is at the table ready with their napkins tucked into their shirts!
  • Serve immediately.
serving bowl of mac and cheese with artichokes and spinach

Variations

Chicken

Add cubed chicken or leftover rotisserie chicken for a simple and delicious meal. Use about 1 pound of whatever protein you like.

Vegetable Spinach and Artichoke

To add even more veggies into this nutrient packed dish, add red, yellow and green bell pepper. Onions, broccoli and cauliflower would also work.

Common questions about Spinach Pasta Bake

Can I make my own artichoke hearts with a fresh artichoke? Technically, yes but it is so much work! Unless it’s in the height of artichoke season and they are huge I don’t find all the extra time is worth it. 

You’ll steam the artichoke until tender (about an hour ) then remove the leaves and the choke and use a spoon to get to the heart. Cut it up into small pieces.

Can I use blue cheese or goat cheese in this? You can use either but you’ll want to use them in combination with cheddar. The blue cheese, because it is so pungent, will completely change the flavor of the pasta. If you are a blue cheese lover, however, you’ll love the intensity of it.

More Mac N Cheese you might like

More Artichoke Recipes

I’d love it if you enjoy this recipe if you’d comment and rate the recipe 5 stars in the recipe card.  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hashtag any recipes you make from West Via Midwest #westviamidwestrecipes or tag me @michele_westviamidwest on Instagram to be featured on our stories!  

Yield: 8

Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese

large bowl of Mac n cheese

All the ingredients from your favorite dip and your favorite pasta all in one recipe. Spinach and artichoke mac and cheese is great for potluck lunches, weeknight dinner or a side dish for a grilled steak.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 box Large Elbow Pasta (or any pasta you like
  • 2 cans (14 oz) whole artichoke hearts in water 
  • 1 bag (12 oz) frozen spinach
  • 3 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 12 ounces White Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 Cup Panko
  • 1 teaspoon parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Boil pasta according to box directions. Do not overcook, you want it to be al dente. Drain and then set aside.
  3. Drain the artichoke hearts then cut each heart into small bite-sized pieces -- I cut them in half, then in half, then in half until I have 8 pieces from each heart. Set aside.
  4. Place spinach into a colander and run warm water over the top to allow it to thaw. Then gently press out any remaining water once the ice melts. Place a paper towel over the top of the spinach then using your hand press as much water out as you can.
  5. In the bottom of a small pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter on medium. Then sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir for 2 minutes. Then while continually stirring, add the milk to slowly incorporate all of the flour into the milk without any lumps. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and continue to stir for 5-8 minutes until it starts to thicken.
  6. Once its started to thicken add the nutmeg and the grated cheese and stir until all melted and creamy consistency.
  7. Add the cheese sauce, spinach and artichoke hearts over the top of the pasta. Stir to combine.
  8. Place in a greased 9X 13 baking dish.
  9. Melt the last tablespoon of butter (microwave is fine.) Then add butter and 1 tablespoon of parsley to the panko and stir to combine.
  10. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until panko is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.
  11. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 340Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 451mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 16g

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. Please calculate your own nutritional information if you want it exact to what you make and use my calculations as a guide only.

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Jeff

Thursday 22nd of October 2020

This is a delicious spin on one of my favorite dishes!

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