This is one of my favorite and go to recipes…
Tomato Mozzarella Spinach Pasta Bake
3/4 Box of Pasta Noodles
1 Tbsp Oil/Butter
1 Onion Diced
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1 Carton of Pomi Chopped Tomatoes
1 Big tsp Paprika
1 Big tsp Ancho Chile Pepper
1 Big tsp Thyme (dried)
1 Big tsp Basil (dried)
Dash Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste
Large Handful of Spinach
2-3 Cups of Shredded Mozarella
1/4 Cup Parmesan
2/3 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Boil water and cook noodles.
While noodles cook add oil or butter to a large skillet. Over medium-high heat saute your onions till translucent and soft. Then add your garlic, cook for about a minute till it’s fragrant. Then add your Pomi tomatoes and seasonings. Continue to cook on a light simmer until your noodles are fully cooked.
Drain the noodles and add to the tomato mixture on the stove. Add spinach and stir to get everything nicely coated and mixed.
In a greased (oil spritzed) baking dish pour half the mixture in. Then sprinkle 1/2 of the shredded mozzarella on top of the mixture. Add the rest of the mixture (without stirring) and add the remaining mozarella and parmesan to the top. Follow that up with your panko sprinkled on the very top and you are ready to put dinner in the over.
Cook uncovered for 20mins. If you want a crunchy and cheese browned top place it under the broiler for just a few minutes – but watch the whole time until it’s where you would like it, because that broiler will brown and crunch your pasta bake mighty fast!
Okay foodies, this recipe is going to make you wish you could eat like a camel can drink water. You are not going to want to put your plate down on this one, which honestly I struggle with every time I eat this meal.
As for the making of this meal, any noodles will work – I’ve used rotini (as I did tonight, and it was even the vegetable kind too), rigatoni, penne and bow ties (farfalle). Pick a favorite or what’s in the cupboard like I often do and go. Now the noodles don’t matter much, but the Pomi tomatoes are THE most important part of this dish – they are the makers or breakers. They come in a little red and white carton and can be found at most major grocery stores. I’ve seen them in Meijer, Giant Eagle and Kroger along with Whole Foods. They are probably right under your nose but you’ve never known to look. No seriously they’ll be under your nose, most likely the bottom shelves of where the cans of tomatoes are.
Spices are a guesstimate as I never measure anything when cooking, it works splendidly for me and awful for you. So go with the flow and imagine you are Rocco Dispirito or Julia Child if you must, and dash and sprinkle till it feels right. But in case your Rocco moment quickly turns into a Frankenstein moment I’m sorry and please don’t ever do that again.
So I really love this meal, it’s pretty easy and the flavor is really something. A jar of pasta sauce could never do this – even some of the best. This is also one of those dinners I dare you to not go back for seconds. It’s just too good you don’t want to leave any behind – even when your stomach is screaming ENOUGH, you find yourself yelling SILENCE I will push on.