Faster mac and cheese

Bill Hogan / Chicago Tribune
Bill Hogan / Chicago Tribune
Posted: April 12, 2012

A good macaroni and cheese takes time. At least one that doesn't come out of a box. That's why, when leafing through the new cookbook Home at 7, Dinner at 8 (Kyle, $19.95), by Sophie Wright, the British chef's mac 'n' cheese caught my eye. She shortens cooking time by skipping the sauce, but keeps the result homogeneous and creamy by using Boursin and cream cheese.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Makes 6 servings

1 pound penne pasta

5 ounces Boursin cheese

3 tablespoons cream cheese

9 ounces grated mozzarella cheese or fresh mozzarella

6 ounces fresh baby spinach

1/4 to 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted boiling water over high heat until al dente, about 9 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the broiler to medium. Place the Boursin and cream cheese in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook, mixing well, until the cheeses melt and form a sauce. (Or microwave in a bowl, 1 1/2 minutes.) Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot; fold in the melted cheese mixture, pasta water, and the mozzarella until well combined. Stir in the spinach just until incorporated.

3. Pour mixture into a buttered baking dish, 8 or 9 inches wide and 3 inches deep. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan; broil until golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Adapted from Home at 7, Dinner at 8 (Kyle)

Per serving: 509 calories, 17 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 42 mg cholesterol, 64 g carbohydrates, 29 g protein, 536 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.