September 25, 2014

Baked Spinach and Prosciutto Pasta

Cheesy Pasta with Ricotta, Spinach, Prosciutto, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Ricotta, Spinach, Prosciutto, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Anytime I can throw ingredients into a baking dish and make dinner I am all for it.  And making something in large quantities just allows for more leftovers!  Fall is here and warm, cheesy, pasta always sounds good.  That's why this recipe is one of my new favorites!  Plus, baking in the oven always makes the house smell fantastic! 

I admit that I have been a little bit lazy when it comes to making dinner each night for Jamie and I.  It makes it hard when my internal clock wants me all snuggly in bed at 10pm and Jamie doesn't even get home for another hour.  I always try to stay up, but even when I do, I am pretty unmotivated to create a magical, hot and ready dinner for him at 11pm.  So a dish like this, that I can prep or even fully cook earlier in the day, really is a lifesaver.  Then I just have to preheat the oven and reheat the dish while Jamie is on his way home... BOOM... magical, hot and ready dinner at 11pm. 

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Ricotta, Spinach, Prosciutto, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This dish holds up really well with being reheated.  In fact, these photos were taken the morning after we had this meal, because along with trying to eat dinner just before midnight, shooting a dish in the middle of the night with no professional lighting is not a good idea.  Natural light does wonders for food photography! 

This recipe was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, but I added the sun-dried tomatoes and changed other things up a bit.  Now that Fall is here, I can't wait to try this dish with the addition of some roasted butternut squash.  In fact, you can customize this dish however you want.  I put spinach in everything (in case you haven't noticed), so for me that's a must, but if you want to change the meat to chicken, sausage or pancetta, go for it!  Change up the cheeses, add more vegetables and leave out the meat all together!  You are the masta' of your baked pasta! (By the way, if you have not checked out Chef John on his Food Wishes YouTube channel, I suggest you do so RIGHT NOW! He is an amazing chef and entertaining to listen to, I can't stop watching, John!)

With that, I leave you with a recipe that is simple and tasty any time of the year. 

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Ricotta, Spinach, Prosciutto, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Baked Spinach and Prosciutto Pasta

Serves 6

1lb gemelli pasta
1 6oz bag of prewashed baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup sun dried tomatoes (not in oil), roughly chopped
3 oz package of prosciutto, thinly sliced
2 cups milk
2 cups ricotta cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.  

Generously salt the water and add pasta. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the sun dried tomatoes to the water to plump them up a little bit. After 2 more minutes pass add the chopped spinach to the water and continue to cook for an additional minute.  You want the tomatoes to be plump, the spinach to be bright green and the pasta to be slightly harder than al dente.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce.  I mixed it all in the 9x13 dish that I baked it in to minimize the dishes! Mix together the milk, ricotta, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper in the dish. 

Drain the pasta, spinach and tomatoes and add them to the sauce in the dish. Toss together and add half of the Parmesan and stir. Top the pasta with prosciutto and the rest of the Parmesan. 

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. 


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