This Spinach Pasta Recipe is an easy weeknight dinner. It's loaded with fresh spinach, mozzarella, and creamy burrata in a flavorful tomato based pasta sauce.
I often wonder if others are like me and sometime struggle with dinner ideas. Although I am a food blogger, I'm going to be honest, I sometimes get burned-out and do not feel like cooking or simply do not know what to cook.
On busy weeknights, I need a recipe that's delicious, quick and easy. Really, something I can literally whip up in under 40minutes and requires zero to very little effort.
If you also fall into this category, I'm happy to say that I've got you covered. I'm here to share one of my family's favorite weeknight pasta dishes. So, take the guess work out of your last minute dinner decisions and whip up this spinach pasta recipe. You will not be disappointed.
- Wide or extra-wide egg pasta noodles (penne or shell shaped pasta)
- Pasta sauce (your favorite store brand would be perfect)
- Fresh spinach (or frozen but make sure it's thawed and totally dry)
- Mozzarella cheese (grate it yourself do not buy pre-grated cheese)
- Burrata cheese (optional)
How to make spinach pasta
Pasta: For this recipe, I used extra-wide egg pasta noodles although any shape pasta will work perfectly fine. I like that wide-egg pasta noodles aren't too delicate and not too sturdy.
Prepare the wide-egg pasta noodles according to the directions on the packaging while cooking just a little under al dente. Cooking a little under al dente is important as the pasta will continue to cook when placed in the oven to bake. It's IMPORTANT that the pasta noodles are not OVERCOOKED.
Sauce: For this recipe, I used my favorite store bought jarred tomato based pasta sauce and enhanced the flavor with red wine, some canned coconut milk for creaminess and to mellow out the acidic taste and continue to simmer.
Cheese: Use your favorite type of cheese. One that melts really well. I used mozzarella cheese that I shredded myself and burrata cheese that I simply pulled apart and placed through the pasta dish
Spinach: I used fresh spinach that I cut into chiffonade, pronounced (schiff 0' nod). Chiffonade is a process whereby you stack the vegetables such as spinach on top of each, roll the vegetable (spinach) up, then slice.
Frozen spinach can be used instead of fresh spinach; however, it's important to defrost the frozen spinach and DRY EXTREMELY well using paper towels to get rid of all the water.
Assemble (Layered from bottom to top) : Add pasta noodles to sauce that was simmering, top with a generous amount of chiffonade spinach, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top of layer of spinach, pull off chucks of burrata cheese and randomly place on top of mozzarella cheese. I used an oven safe baking dish.
Bake in oven: Cover with aluminum foil until cheese is bubbly. Remove foil and place under broiler for an additional minute to brown the layer of cheese.
- Salt your pasta water before adding pasta to the boiling water.
- Cook pasta noodles 2 minutes under al dente.
- Reserve about ½ cup of pasta water to loosen sauce if needed.
- Pay attention to the pasta to sauce ratio - If your ratio is off, you can end up with dry pasta as pasta absorbs sauce very quickly. After combining the cooked pasta to the sauce, make sure your pasta is a little more saucy.
- Spinach should be COMPLETELY DRY before layering.
- To prevent the spinach from browning or burning in the oven, really cover it with mozzarella and burrata cheese. The cheese will create a protective barrier that will prevent the spinach from burning in the hot oven.
- I highly recommend that you always grate your own cheese. It makes a huge difference and melts so beautifully compared to pre-grated cheese.
- Lightly spray aluminum foil with cooking spray to prevent the cheese from sticking to the aluminum foil while your pasta is baking in the oven.
- If you place your baked pasta under the broiler for a minute after its cooked. Stay close by to prevent your baked pasta from burning. All you want is for your cheese to get a slight brown coating. This should take no longer than a 1 or 2 minutes under the broiler.
- Double or triple this recipe to serve your family or a crowd of people
Aren't stress-free dinner nights the best? Bring this fast, easy, and delicious spinach pasta recipe into your next weeknight dinner rotation.
How to store baked pasta
If you've made enough to have left-overs for the next day, you can simply store it in an air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 - 3 days.
How to reheat baked pasta
It's easy to reheat baked pasta. You can either:
- Reheat by wrapping the pasta in aluminum foil
- Reheat by placing the pasta in a baking dish and covering with aluminum foil to prevent the pasta from drying out
- You can also reheat baked pasta in the microwave. I'm not a fan of heating food in the microwave unless that's the only means of reheating food or time is an issue.
You might also like these easy weeknight dinner meals:
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Spinach Pasta Recipe
- 16 oz extra wide egg noodles
- 24 oz jar pasta sauce (pasta or marinara sauce)
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 3 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ cup red or white wine (optional)
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk (plus 2 tbsp)
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
- 1 burrata cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 1-½ cup fresh spinach (cut into long thin strips)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Grate mozzarella cheese. Set aside. Chiffonade spinach (meaning slice into long strips). Set aside. Wrap burrata ball in paper towel to absorb the moisture.
- Boil water and cook extra wide egg noodles according to packaging. Cooking 2 minutes under al dente. Drain noodles. Reserving ½ cup of pasta water if needed. Set aside.
- Place saute pan over medium high heat. Add cooking oil and saute minced garlic just until fragrant. Add jarred pasta or marinara sauce. When sauce begins to boil add wine. Contiune cooking for about 3 minutes. Add unsweetened coconut milk. Add salt and Italian seasoning to taste. Turn fire down to a simmer. Simmer on low for about 10-15 minutes. (If not using wine and you feel as though sauce is too thick add pasta water a little at a time to loosen sauce)
- When sauce is done, add noodles and gentle incorporate noodles into sauce (Be mindful of pasta to sauce ratio to prevent pasta from becoming dry). In baking dish begin layering from bottom to top: add combined pasta, thinly sliced spinach, sprinkle generous amount of mozzarella cheese, pull chunks of burrata and randomly add it on top of mozzarella cheese.
- Lightly spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Cover baking dish with the prepared aluminum foil to prevent cheese from sticking to foil. Place baking dish in oven and bake until cheese has melted and is bubbling. Remove pasta from oven. Remove foil. Place under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes to add a slightly brown coating to the melted cheese.
- Serve hot and enjoy.
- Always add salt to the boiling water before adding your pasta
- Cook pasta just until al dente (do not over cook because the pasta will also go into the oven to bake)
- Reserve about a ½ cup of pasta water to add to the sauce in case the sauce is too thick
- Be mindful of the pasta to sauce ratio, do not add too much pasta to the sauce because the pasta will soak up the sauce which can potentially create a dry pasta bake
- Make sure the spinach is completely dry before layering it into the pasta
- Grate the cheese yourself instead of using prepackaged grated cheese it melts much better
- To prevent the spinach from becoming scorched or burned in the oven, really cover the spinach with cheese, so the cheese will act as a protective barrier
- Before placing the pasta in the oven to bake cover it with foil that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray to prevent the cheese from sticking
- If you decide to place your pasta bake under the broiler for a couple of minutes after it is done baking to brown the cheese slightly, do not walk away because the broiler can cause it to burn.
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