Wednesday, October 20, 2010

RECIPE: Spinach & Parmesan Pasta Bake

Any kind of baked pasta is sure to be a hit at my house. One day when I was trying to come up with a way to use up half a bag of spinach I invented this dish. If you happen to have some leftover ham, chop it fine and stir it into the pasta when you add the sauce and spinach mixture.

1 lb of fusilli or rotini pasta
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 a 900 g bag of spinach (about a pound), thoroughly washed and chopped
2 1/2 tbsp flour
2 1/2 tbsp butter
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Grated mozzarella cheese OR breadcrumbs (about a cup, mixed with 2 tbsp olive oil)

Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente; drain and return to cooking pot. While the pasta is cooking, saute the onion and garlic in a large frying pan until tender. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts (about 2-3 minutes). Remove from heat. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until it is fully incorporated with the fat. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly over medium-low heat (a whisk is ideal for this). Once the sauce has thickened (this might take a few minutes), add the nutmeg, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Add the sauce and the spinach mixture to the pasta and stir until well combined. Turn into a lasagna pan. If topping with cheese, bake at 375F covered with foil for 20 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle cheese on top, then bake uncovered a final 5 minutes. If topping with breadcrumbs, sprinkle on before baking, then bake for 25 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Makes 6 servings.

I shared this recipe at Tasty Tuesday.

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