Spinach & Ricotta Pasta Bake
Recipe video above. A lazy meal for midweek that tastes like spinach and ricotta stuffed shells or cannelloni - but without all the labour! Feel free to use your favourite store bought pasta sauce if you prefer. Reheats well and freezes well too!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
- 300g / 10 oz ziti pasta, uncooked, or other short pasta of choice
- 1.5 cups (150g) mozzarella cheese , shredded (or more!)
- 1 lb / 500 g ricotta (Note 1)
- 1/2 cup (50g) parmesan cheese , grated
- 2 garlic cloves , crushed
- 350g / 12oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess liquid pressed out
- 1 cup (100g) grated Mozzarella cheese
- 3/4 tsp salt & pepper
Shortcut Pasta Sauce
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 24 oz / 700g tomato passata (1 standard bottle) (Note 2)
- 1 tsp EACH onion and garlic powder
- 2 tsp dried Italian Mixed Herbs (Note 3)
- 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes , to taste (optional)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 2 tbsp water (if needed)
Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
Pasta Sauce: Pour out about 1/4 cup of the passata (to make room to add flavourings). Add the remaining Pasta Sauce ingredients into the bottle, screw the lid on and give it a shake.
Cook pasta for time per packet MINUS 1 minute.
SCOOP OUT 1 mugful pasta cooking water, drain and set aside.
Ricotta Mixture - Mix Ricotta Mixture ingredients in a very large bowl. Use a splash of pasta cooking water if needed to make it creamy.
Add pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to a heatproof baking dish.
Top with Pasta Sauce, top with cheese. Loosely cover with foil.
Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve while hot and fresh!
1. Ricotta - Some ricottas are soft and creamy, others are a bit drier and more crumbly. Use pasta cooking water to loosen ricotta so it can be tossed through the pasta (see video for consistency).
Spinach - or use 1 large bunch of fresh, shredded.
3. Mixed Italian Herbs is a dried herb mix you can get from the supermarket which costs the same as other herbs. You can substitute with a mix of other dried herbs - basil, parsley, oregano and thyme go particularly well.
4. Tomato passata is strained pureed canned tomatoes. Readily available in supermarkets nowadays, usually alongside pasta sauces, same price as canned tomatoes. US/Canada best sub - what you know as Tomato Sauce (eg. Hunts)
5. Storage - Keep leftovers in the fridge and reheat in microwave. To freeze, assemble but do not bake, then freeze. Thaw then bake per recipe.
Calories: 569kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 1346mg | Potassium: 782mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 7860IU | Vitamin C: 14.6mg | Calcium: 611mg | Iron: 3.8mg