Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Baked Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta

My family loves stuffed shells, but sometimes I don't have the time or the desire to cook the shells, make the filling, stuff them, and bake them.  There are occasions when I just want to throw everything together and bake it all!  And so, enter baked pasta with spinach and ricotta.  It's a genius idea: all the components of stuffed shells, conglomerated into a casserole.  Quick (be ready to eat in under an hour, and that includes 35 minutes of baking), easy, and so good.

The ingredients are very similar to my mom's beloved spinach and ricotta stuffed shells.  There is obviously spinach and ricotta, along with parmesan, garlic, marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella. Plus, I love when dishes like this have a pinch of nutmeg to add a hint of flavor to the filling, along with dried basil and even a tiny bit of crushed red pepper.  Oh yes.

Helpful hint?  This casserole can be made ahead of time and baked later (I think this would be a perfect recipe to make and take to a friend in need - hearty, delicious, and who doesn't like pasta?).  It also freezes well after you bake.  Enjoy.


baked pasta with spinach and ricotta
from Two Peas and Their Pod
serves 8

12 ounces pasta (I used the whole 16 ounces)
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 clove garlic
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
salt and black pepper, to taste
4 cups marinara sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.  Cook the pasta according to instructions for al dente, about 7 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

2) In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, and egg.  Stir until smooth.  Add the garlic, spinach, nutmeg, dried basil, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper.

3) Put half of the pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with half of the marinara sauce.  Spoon the spinach ricotta mixture on top of the sauce in an even layer.  Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over the mixture.  Cover with the remaining pasta and the remaining sauce.  Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

4) Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 - 10 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted and the edges are lightly browned.  Serve warm.

No comments:

Post a Comment