Baked Pasta with Spinach and Cheese

February 26, 2011

 

Its is a cold and blustery winter day and all I wanted to do is curl up on the couch with a bowl of something warm and comforting. I came across a recipe in Cooking Light for Baked Pasta with Spinach, Lemon and Cheese and figured that would be a good Saturday afternoon dish to make.

I put on my favorite Anthropologie apron, got out my Pampered Chef chopper and went to town on some onions. Even with the chopper I had some major onion tears going on.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1 package rigatoni
  • 1  (5-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 4  cups  chopped onion
  • 1.1  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup)
  • 4  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2  cups  1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2  cup  dry white wine
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  grated lemon rind
  • 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4  cup  panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided

 

Directions

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 minutes or until almost al dente, omitting salt and fat. Remove from heat; stir in spinach. Let stand for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Drain pasta mixture well.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; cook 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add milk and wine; cook 8 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Stir in 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and rind. Remove from heat; stir in pepper. Add pasta mixture to onion mixture, and toss gently to coat.

4. Spoon the pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle half of panko breadcrumbs over pasta, and top evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Sprinkle the remaining half of panko breadcrumbs over cheese. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

 

 

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This very much hit the spot for warm comfort food! The hint of lemon was a very nice touch. What’s not to love about warm, cheesy, with a golden brown crust?

 

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The whole time I was in the kitchen Clifford and Tuscany were all about seeing what was going on. Having a pot full of a homemade cheese sauce and two dogs running around you pretty much guarantees that there will be a mess made. Poor Tuscany got cheese sauce on her head and Clifford tried to jump up and lick it off. I wish I would have had a video camera for this! It was hilarious. Tuscany trying to lick her fur and Clifford trying to jump high enough to reach her head and get all that sauce off.

 

Mom why are you always taking my picture?

 

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Tuscany was thinking crazy lady who spills on me with a big scary camera

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) February 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm

It’s pretty silly but I have these onion goggles that I wear if I have to cut up a lot of onions. They look funny but they really work!!! Just put them on BEFORE you start chopping otherwise you already have onion fumes in your eyes and then trap the fumes with your goggles. Yeah, that hurts. :)

Reply

Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) February 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm

It’s pretty silly but I have these onion goggles that I wear if I have to cut up a lot of onions. They look funny but they really work!!! Just put them on BEFORE you start chopping otherwise you already have onion fumes in your eyes and then trap the fumes with your goggles. Yeah, that hurts. :)

Reply

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