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Spinach Alfredo Pasta Bake

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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Ingredients

1 pound short pasta, such as penne or gemelli

1 cup ricotta cheese 

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 

Zest of 1 lemon 

7 tablespoons butter 

One 10-ounce container mushrooms, sliced 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

One 8-ounce bag fresh spinach

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1 cup dry white wine or low-sodium vegetable broth 

1 cup half-and-half 

1/2 cup heavy cream 

Low-sodium vegetable broth, as needed, for thinning 

1 cup grated Parmesan 

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs 

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta in the boiling water, draining it about 2 minutes before the time on the package. It should still be a bit firm. Rinse it in cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.
  2. Mix the ricotta with the parsley and lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
  4. In a large deep skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms have given up their liquid, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the spinach and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has wilted. Remove the vegetables and set aside, leaving any liquid in the skillet.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Pour in the wine and let it bubble up and reduce for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the half-and-half and cream, season with salt and pepper and cook, whisking, until it's all combined. If it gets too thick as it cooks, you can thin it with a little vegetable broth. When the sauce looks good, remove it from the heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the Parmesan.
  6. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  7. In the buttered baking dish, stir together the pasta, vegetables and sauce. (Add a splash of broth if needed). Add spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture, pushing them a bit into the pasta. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook until the top is brown and the mixture is bubbling, about 20 minutes more.
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