By now you can probably tell that Neil and I love pasta. It’s simply the quintessential easy, versatile dish that allows us to make the best use of garden produce as it is picked and at a reasonable cost, keeps us eating frugally during the week as we try to save money. In this case, it also allowed us to use up a few items leftover from Anja’s Bridal Brunch.
3/4 pound whole-wheat pasta, your choice
3 cloves garlic
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
Zest and juice of one lemon
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, shredded
1 cup ricotta cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Fresh Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and butter/oil a 13×9 inch oven-safe baking dish. Squeeze 1/2 of lemon juice into baking dish and coat bottom of dish evenly. Prep all ingredients, including thoroughly washing and drying spinach.
2. Cook pasta according to directions, remove from heat and rinse with cold water. Toss in bowl with olive oil and set aside.
3. Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet and saute garlic and about a teaspoon of salt for a few minutes. Add spinach and cook until spinach collapses, approximately 30 seconds.
4. Remove spinach/garlic from heat and add to noodles with remaining 1/2 of the lemon juice and all of zest. Add a 1/2 cup of ricotta and half of the mozzerella to the mixture extremely well.
5. Pour mixture into baking dish and top with remaining cheese and ricotta (in dollops).
6. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes until cheese on top is bubbling and melted. Top with fresh parmesan and salt and pepper.
Despite being a baked pasta, and essentially a “casserole,” this is very light. It produced two meals worth of pasta for Neil and me and I have to say it was better on the second day. I’m already scheming when I can get away with making it again!
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