Here's what's up:
•1 pound ziti with no lines or ditalini
•2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
•1 1/2-2 pounds ground veal, beef or chicken
•1 large onion, chopped
•3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
•2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed of excess water
•3 tablespoons butter
•3 tablespoons flour (again, I use cornstarch)
•2 cups milk
•A few grates of fresh nutmeg
•Salt and freshly ground black pepper
•1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Pre-heat the broiler.
Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it up to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and reserve in the pot it was cooked in.
While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of EVOO, about two turns of the pan. Add the ground meat to the pan and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until evenly browned throughout, about 6-7 minutes.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan and continue cooking until the onion has softened, 6-7 minutes.
Add the spinach and cook for about 1 minute to heat through, then season the mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While the onion is cooking, place a medium size pot over medium heat and melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook the mixture for about 1 minute. Whisk the milk into the butter-flour mixture and cook until the liquid has thickened up. Season the sauce with nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the meat-onion mixture and the sauce to the pot with the cooked pasta and stir to evenly combine.
Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and sprinkle the grated cheese over the top. Place the dish under the broiler until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
THE END RESULT
This was pretty darn tasty. Chris gave it a rating of "7.5" - he said he thinks it would be better if we were to use Italian sausage. Of course that would defeat the point of it being healthy. Betsy loved it - she fed herself and ate almost all of it. The grown-ups had seconds, and there was plenty left over for later.