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Ricotta & Spinach Pasta Bake

Easy, cheesy and so delicious!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main
Servings: 8 - 10 Servings
Author: Tricia

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (16-ounces) Rigatoni or other pasta like Ziti or Penne)
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, about 4 cups packed
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese, full fat
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 small cloves garlic, minced
  • dash of nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 ½ to 3 cups marinara sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 13x9-inch baking dish with vegetable cooking spray.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain the pasta then put it back in the warm pot. Add the spinach leaves to the pasta and gently toss or stir to combine. The leaves should wilt a little once they sit in the hot pasta. Set aside, stirring occasionally while mixing the cheese together.
  • In a medium mixing bowl combine the ricotta, cottage cheese, beaten egg, garlic, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of the Mozzarella. Fold together until blended. Add a little more than half the cheese mixture to the pasta and spinach. Mix gently using a rubber spatula or large wooden spoon.
  • Pour 1 cup of the marinara sauce into the bottom of the prepared pan and spread to cover. Pour the pasta and spinach mixture into the pan and then top with dollops of the remaining ricotta mixture. Spread the remaining marinara over the top. Cover the pan lightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and top with the remaining Mozzarella cheese. Continue baking (uncovered) until the dish is hot and bubbly and the cheese melted and lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes more.
  • Serve with additional Parmesan and fresh parsley if desired.

Notes

Once assemble this pasta bake can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours, or frozen for up to a month for cooking later. Make sure it is well sealed. Remove from the freezer on the morning you plan to bake, and refrigerate until later. Add 5-10 minutes to the baking time while covered.