Creamy mac and cheese is loaded with flavors similar to a Greek spinach pie (spanakopita). Time to elevate your mac and cheese and turn into something spectacular!
Mac and cheese is the standard kid dish for all holidays, events, and special occasions. You always see the thick, elbow macaroni that is coated in that liquid gold coating. Some kids love it, some kids don’t, and some adults look forward to eating what’s left on their kid’s plates! Mac and cheese is everyone’s comfort food!
Sometimes we forget that mac and cheese doesn’t have to have yellow cheese and it can be made with sophisticated flavors! This spanakopita mac and cheese is definitely sophisticated! It takes one of my favorite Greek dishes (spanakopita) and it combines it with a super simple mac and cheese recipe (I did the same thing with spinach dip)!
What Is a Spanakopita Recipe?
Spanakopita’s English translation is “spinach pie”. Spanakopita (spana-ko-peeta) recipe is made with phyllo dough (a specialty, paper-thin dough that is typically found in the freezer section of your supermarket.
The phyllo dough is heavily brushed with butter and layered with spinach, cottage cheese, and feta cheese mixture. It is labor-intensive and quite time-consuming.
How To Make Spanakopita Mac and Cheese
Prepare your chosen pasta, according to package directions.
Melt butter in a large saucepan that has been placed over medium heat. Whisk in an equal amount of all-purpose flour until combined and a thick paste has formed.
Slowly stream in the dairy that you are using and whisk until smooth. Whisking constantly will prevent any lumps from forming and will ensure that all the ingredients combine.
Allow the mixture to bubble around the edges and thicken.
Once the milk has thickened, it’s time to add in your cheese! You can shred your own cheese or use pre-shredded cheese if that is easier!
Once the sauce is smooth, fold your al dente pasta into the cheese, turning to coat. At this point, you want to add in your spinach, cottage cheese, and crumbled feta.
Place your pasta in a baking dish.
Top your mac and cheese with more crumbled feta and a simple bread crumb mixture and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
How To Make Make Mac and Cheese In Advance
When I need mac and cheese to be made in advance, I will often make the pasta in advance, then keep it in the fridge until it is almost time to be served. The cheese sauce does not take more than 15 minutes or more to come together. Combine and serve the pasta!
Alternatively, you can make the mac and cheese as stated here. Place the combined pasta in a baking dish, cover, and refrigerate. Bake the mac and cheese in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
Can Mac and Cheese Be Frozen?
Yes, it can. Prepare the mac and cheese as instructed. Place the pasta in a baking dish and cover tightly. Freeze pasta for up to 3 months. When needed, place the mac and cheese in a 350-degree oven. Bake the frozen pasta for 1 hour.
What To Eat With Spanakopita Mac and Cheese
You could easily throw some shredded rotisserie chicken into this macaroni and cheese recipe d to make it a complete meal!
More Mac and Cheese Recipes:
- 1 10 oz package frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed dry)
- ⅓ cup cottage cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 oz crumbled feta
- 1 lb cavatappi pasta
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 8 oz package Italian Blend shredded cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In a bowl, combine the spinach, cottage cheese, salt, herbs, garlic, and feta cheese. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions.
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add butter and flour whisking until combined. Slowly whisk milk and heavy cream and continue to whisk until smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture for 3-5 minutes or until it begins to thicken (do not let the milk boil). Whisk in cheese and stir until smooth.
- Carefully toss pasta with cheese sauce, stir in spinach mixture. Pour pasta into prepared baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the feta and bread crumbs. Toss with melted butter and scatter the mixture over the mac and cheese.
- Bake the pasta for 20-23 minutes; or until golden brown and bubbly.
Read my tips on how to make the perfect homemade mac and cheese!