1 pound curly pasta (recommended: campanelle or cavatappi by Barilla)
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup frozen shredded zucchini, thawed & drained
2 cups sliced frozen carrots, thawed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 tsp chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 rounded tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 cups Italian 4-cheese mix (I used a mix of mozzarella, provolone, Asiago and Romano)
Heat a pot of water to a boil for pasta. Cook pasta to al dente.
Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Add onions and garlic to the pan. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. When the onions are tender, about 5 minutes, add defrosted spinach and zucchini, separating into small bits as you handle it, and toss to heat through. Transfer veggies to a dish and return skillet to stove top. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and the butter. When the butter melts into extra-virgin olive oil, add 2 rounded tablespoons of flour and cook a minute or so, then whisk in stock and milk. Bring to a bubble and thicken the sauce, reducing it 2 to 3 minutes. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add all cheese to the sauce and cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts completely. Slide vegetables back into sauce. Drain pasta and mix with the cheese sauce.
In case you're interested, here's the original recipe. I had no ricotta (well, I HAD ricotta, but it was well on its way to Science Experiment Status) so I decided to improvise from there. I find that Rachael Ray's recipes are quite forgiving that way, and this tasted delicious to me.
No one else in the house will want to eat this, so I'll be freezing the rest in individual portions for lunches. I was the only one home tonight, so I figured I'd cook what I like.
The leftovers will also be great with some leftover marinara sauce on top.