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Lightened-Up Spinach and Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese

This lightened-up but still creamy version of macaroni and cheese is full of protein--an impressive 29 grams per serving-quite an accomplishment for a vegetarian meal. The whole-wheat pasta, spinach and artichoke hearts add their vitamin, mineral and fiber superpowers.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Nutrition Info
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8 ounces whole-wheat elbow pasta

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 medium shallots, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup skim milk

1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 cup lightly packed shredded part-skim mozzarella

2/3 cup lightly packed shredded low-fat Swiss cheese

1/4 cup lightly packed grated Parmesan

One 6-ounce bag baby spinach (about 6 heaping cups)

One 9-ounce box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and roughly chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Special equipment: a broiler-safe 2-quart baking dish
  2. Position an oven rack at the center of the oven, and preheat the broiler.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta water; strain the pasta.
  4. Wipe out the pot. Add the butter, and melt over medium heat. Add the shallots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, and whisk constantly until it begins to toast, about 2 minutes. (The flour will form a thick paste, but that's okay; just keep it moving in the pot.) Whisk in the milk and the reserved pasta water, and whisk constantly until the mixture is thick like gravy, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the sour cream, 2/3 cup of the mozzarella, the Swiss cheese and 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan. Once the cheeses have melted, add the spinach, and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in the artichoke hearts, pasta, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to a broiler-safe 2-quart baking dish.
  5. Stir together the remaining 1/3 cup mozzarella and 3 tablespoons Parmesan in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the pasta. Broil until golden and bubbly, about 2 minutes.