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Mains, Quick and Easy, Sides, Vegetarian

Cheesy spinach mac

Cheesy spinach mac
Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Dear SOS: I took out-of-town visitors to the Beachcomber in Crystal Cove, and several of us ordered the spinach truffle mac and were awed with the delicious combination of ingredients in addition to the lovely setting. Is it possible to ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour | Serves 4 to 8
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 8 ounces sliced white button mushrooms, about 4 cups
  • 4 ounces baby spinach, about 4 cups
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 12 ounces shredded smoked Gouda, about 3 cups
  • 8 ounces grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese, a generous 2 cups, plus 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano, divided
  • 1/4 cup white truffle oil
  • 1 (1-pound box) cavatappi or macaroni pasta, cooked and drained
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 4 ounces (2 cups) mixed mushrooms, such as chanterelle, king, enoki, oyster and black trumpet
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs
  • Parsley sprigs, for garnish

Step 1Heat a medium, heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add one-half cup (1 stick) of butter, swirling to melt.

Step 2Add the button mushrooms and saute until lightly colored, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach and continue to saute for a minute to wilt.

Step 3Stir in the heavy cream, smoked Gouda, 8 ounces pecorino cheese and truffle oil, and reduce the heat slightly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.

Step 4Toss in the pasta and heat through, stirring until the sauce is thickened and creamy. Taste and season if desired. Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place.

Step 5Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat until hot. Melt the remaining butter and saute the mixed mushrooms until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 6In a small bowl, toss together the panko crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Step 7To plate, divide the pasta among 4 to 8 oven-proof bowls. Top the pasta with the bread crumb mixture and place the bowls under the broiler. Broil the pasta just until the topping starts to brown, about a minute, depending on the distance of the broiler.

Step 8Remove the bowls from the broiler and top each serving with the sauteed mushrooms and a sprig of parsley. Serve immediately.

Note: Adapted from the Beachcomber at Crystal Cove. Cavatappi pasta is a type of tube pasta, similar to macaroni; it is available at select gourmet grocers and cooking supply stores.

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