I wanted a vegetable/starch side dish to go with my baked salmon. Lately, I have been making dishes with noodles in white sauce for Jan and Eilene. Today, I decided to make it a green sauce.
Karl’s Noodles Florentine
8 oz. spinach, frozen
6 oz. wide noodles, dried
1 tsp. Kosher salt, separate uses
4 Tbs. butter, separate uses
½ yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. black pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. flour
1 cups whole milk
1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
1 Tbs. fresh basil, chiffonade
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the spinach for two minutes.
Tip: You can save on heating a second pot of water by pouring the spinach water into a large pot with a handle. This will not only save on time and energy, but will add some flavor to the noodles as you boil them.
2. Drain, cool in cold water, and squeeze the spinach dry. Chop the spinach finely and put it in a bowl.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add half a teaspoon of salt and the noodles. Simmer until they are just al dente.
Tip: You are going to bake the noodles later, so you do not want them to be overdone.
4. Cut the onion, pole to pole, into thin crescents and set aside.
Tip: You want the onion slices to be about ¼ inch at the widest.
5. Clean the boiling pot and melt one tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. Sauté the onions with half a teaspoon of salt until just translucent, about three minutes.
Tip: I do this all in one pot to save on cleanup.
6. Add the garlic and sauté minutes.
7. Crack fresh pepper over the onions, to taste, and stir it in.
8. Transfer the onions to the spinach bowl.
9. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
10. Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter in the pot. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux, about three minutes.
Tip: The longer you cook a roux the darker it will get. For this dish you want it to be fairly pale.
11. Put the milk in the microwave and heat it on high for one minute.
Tip: This step is not really necessary, but if you add cold milk to the roux it will clump up and it will be harder to make a smooth sauce.
12. Slowly add the milk to the roux while stirring constantly until it is starting to thicken.
13. Stir in the Parmesan until it has melted into the sauce.
14. Add the noodles, spinach mixture, and basil to the sauce.
15. Gently fold the mixture together to coat everything with the sauce.
16. Transfer the mixture to a buttered (or Pam-ed) casserole dish and smooth it out with a spatula.
17. Bake the casserole for 30-40 minutes, until it is starting to brown on top.
18. Remove the casserole from the oven, let it cool for five minutes, and serve.