Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach

Pesto is definitely an expensive ingredient, but it’s so potent that you really don’t need a lot to add big flavor to your recipes. The little jar I bought contains about 3/4 cup pesto and cost $3.99. I’ve used about 1/4 cup in each recipe so far, but if you can’t find uses for your leftovers immediately, pesto can be frozen. A lot of people like to spoon it into ice cube trays so they can grab a couple tablespoons at a time to toss into recipes like pasta, salad dressings, and other sauces.
Pesto is definitely an expensive ingredient, but it’s so potent that you really don’t need a lot to add big flavor to your recipes. The little jar I bought contains about 3/4 cup pesto and cost $3.99. I’ve used about 1/4 cup in each recipe so far, but if you can’t find uses for your leftovers immediately, pesto can be frozen. A lot of people like to spoon it into ice cube trays so they can grab a couple tablespoons at a time to toss into recipes like pasta, salad dressings, and other sauces.


INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni ($0.50)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.22)
  • 2 Tbsp flour ($0.02)
  • 2 cups whole milk ($0.60)
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan ($0.53)
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto ($1.33)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • Freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
  • 1/2 lb frozen spinach ($0.80)

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Thaw the spinach at room temperature or in the microwave. Squeeze out the excess water. Set the spinach aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the macaroni noodles. Boil for 7-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the macaroni in a colander.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, prepare the sauce. Add the butter and flour to a small sauce pot. Heat and stir the butter and flour over medium heat until it forms a creamy paste and begins to bubble. Continue to stir and cook for about one minute more.
  3. Whisk the milk into the butter and flour, then allow it to come up to a simmer, while whisking. When it reaches a simmer, the sauce will thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat.
  4. Whisk the Romano (or Parmesan) and pesto into the sauce until smooth. This will further thicken the sauce. Season the sauce with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Make sure the sauce is well seasoned as the flavors will be less concentrated once the pasta and spinach are stirred in.