Spicy Baked Macaroni

A zesty take on a homestyle favorite, enjoy this spicy staple with a nice glass of Riesling.

Ingredients:

  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (10 oz) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess liquid
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated high quality Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup grated high quality Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 12 oz high quality mozzarella cheese, cubed (about 2 cups)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is golden, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, spinach, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, ¼ cup Parmesan and ¼ cup Romano. Spread softened butter in a 13” x 9” baking dish and sprinkle half of the bread crumb mixture inside the dish to coat.
In a large bowl, combine the vegetable mixture with the cooked macaroni, cubed mozzarella, the remaining Parmesan and Romano cheeses, and the nutmeg. Spoon into the prepared baking dish, top with remaining bread crumb mixture, and dot the top with the remaining butter.
Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Pairs well with Semi-dry Riesling and Dry Riesling wines.

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