Baked Pasta Casserole

22 May

I really liked this recipe – my husband ate it but I don’t know that he loved it. It was a bit too dry for his tastes but that could have been cooking error… and probably was. I added shredded chicken, plus I omitted the almonds because if I’d used them I wouldn’t have had any for a work snack the next day!

Now, with that being said – I’ll totally make this again but maybe throw in a little pasta water or broth before baking to add some moisture.

Baked Pasta Casserole (With Chicken)
Adapted From: 101 Cookbooks
Ingredients
extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound whole wheat pasta shells
sea salt
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups well-chopped fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, lightly toasted
zest of 2 lemons
8 ounces mozzerella, shredded or torn into small pieces
(I added 2 cups shredded chicken for a bit more protein)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Butter/oil a large casserole dish or baking pan – something roughly equivalent to 13×9-inch pan.
Boil the pasta in salted water per package instructions. Drain pasta, toss with a glug of olive oil. Set aside.
In the meantime, heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high.
Saute the onions with a couple pinches of salt for a few minutes (or if you want a bit more depth of flavor until caramelized).
Stir in garlic.
Stir in spinach.
Cook for just about 20 seconds, until the spinach collapses a bit.
Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the almonds and 1/2 of the zest.
Add to pasta and stir and stir – mixing extremely well, a minute or so.
Now sprinkle the bottom of baking dish with the rest of the zest.
Add a layer of the pasta to the bottom of the baking pan, now sprinkle with some of the cheese, add more pasta, then more cheese.
Finish with a layer of cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese on top is bubbly and melty.
Serve sprinkled with the remaining almonds.
Serves 8.
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