Pasta is always a big hit in my house; it doesn’t matter if it’s spaghetti, ravioli or gnocchi. I put pasta on the table and it’s gone within minutes. But sometimes plain old spaghetti and meatballs is just that, old. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a different vegetable or even a different sauce; something that doesn’t necessarily require me standing over the stove for hours stirring away.
Always on the lookout for new pasta ideas, I happened across this yummy sounding baked pasta dish in Cooking Light. The idea of using spinach and cheese instead of tomatoes and ground beef excited me. So, I popped down to the grocery store, picked up a bag of baby spinach and some Reggiano cheese, and created a delicious baked pasta that tickled every part of my family’s tongues.
So, the next time you’re up for pasta, but not in the mood for the same old tomato sauce, whip up this option. I guarantee it’ll become a dinner standby.
Baked Pasta with Spinach and Cheese
- 10-ounces fusilli pasta
- 1, 5-ounce package fresh, baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1/2 cups low fat milk
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (like a chardonnay)
- 1 cup grated Reggiano cheese, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes; remove from heat; add spinach and let soak until wilted, about 2 minutes; drain well and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add onion and cook until browned, 10 to 15 minutes; add flour and garlic and whisk for 1 minute; gradually add milk and wine and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens; stir in 3/4 cup of cheese, salt, and pepper; remove from heat.
- Add pasta mixture to onion and cheese mixture and toss to coat.
- Pour the pasta mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish that’s coated in cooking spray or butter; sprinkle bread crumbs and remaining cheese over pasta; bake for 50 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling; serve immediately with your favorite crusty bread.