Spinach Mac & Cheese with Tin Mustard

We are on a comfort food kick here.  I’m not sure if it is because we finally have our kitchen back or if it is from the extreme amount of cold / snow we have had.  Either way…dinners are working out to be quite tasty.  A while back I read a recipe for spinach mac & cheese in Donna Hay Magazine.  If you haven’t read this magazine yet…oh my gosh.  What a gorgeous, gorgeous magazine.  One I actually don’t hesitate to spend an extraordinary amount of money on at Barnes and Noble when I am browsing by and can’t just leave it there.  It is one of those magazines that makes you want to jump in the pages (sort of like the Pottery Barn catalog for me).  We were inspired by the spinach mac and cheese because our kids love spinach and they love mac and cheese (although, admittedly, it is the orange sort that comes in that oh so familiar blue box…).  We enhanced ours with hamburg, Tin Mustard and Jacobsen Pinot Noir salt.

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We started by cooking a box of cavatappi No. 36 macaroni.  We opted for this rather than the regular macaroni because of the textural lines on each macaroni.  I’d like to think they help hold the sauce.  Being a visual person, I also quite like their spiraling shapes.  Once cooked, we set this aside and, in its cooking pan, added to it 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of Tin Mustard.  Let’s just stop for a minute.  I’m not a mustard person.  I made it once from scratch and thought it was sort of neat.  I grew up with the bright yellow stuff that occasionally went on hot dogs or potato salad.  But Tin Mustard.  This is just incredible.  The flavor is so intense without being hot but the true part that makes me just adore it is the texture.  I’ve said it before but the little mustard seeds just pop in your mouth like caviar.  I can’t get enough of it and thought it would be absolutely perfect in this cheddar mac and cheese recipe.  So in it went.  We also added about two cups of uncooked baby spinach and a cup of cooked hamburg.  This mixture was stirred and then placed in a baking dish.  We topped it with panko and more cheddar cheese.  It was baked at 400 f. for about 20 minutes and then placed under a high broiler until crispy.  When it came out we sprinkled it with Jacobsen Salt Co. Pinot Noir Salt.  Pinot Noir Salt.  Yes.  And yes, I did spend $7.99 on a small container of it at Home Goods.  It has a wonderful smell and the taste is quite subtle.  We have a slight addiction to unusual salts (and a cupboard full of them to prove it).  I know I say this a lot but you can really find some little treasures at Home Goods.  This salt was about four or five dollars cheaper than usual and offers a great way to try stuff out before investing more on a product you are not sure you will like or not.

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What a delicious meal.  The kids loved it.  The top was so crispy and the mustard flavor was prevalent throughout the dish.  We had enough of it to put one batch in the freezer.  We will let you know how that turns out at a later date.

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