Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pasta and spinach bake

**This is not a gluten-free recipe and was posted before I eliminated gluten from my diet. Use brown rice pasta and a gluten-free flour as substitutes.**

pasta and spinach bake, adapted from The Complete Cooking Light CookbookIt looks like I'm still on my baked pasta and cheese kick. One reason is that these dishes are easy and freeze well (and I just finished off my stock of lasagna in the freezer and needed to replace it for emergencies).

Pasta and spinach bake (adapted from "The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook")

8 oz. small whole wheat pasta (I used a combo of penne and fusilli)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup whole white wheat flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/4 cup grated provolone cheese, divided
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
freshly ground black pepper
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
10 oz. package frozen spinach (or 10 oz. fresh spinach, cooked until wilted)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms and cook until onion and mushrooms are tender (about 8 min). Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add milk and cook until it begins to simmer, stirring constantly. Add 1/4 cup provolone and stir until melted. Add drained pasta, remaining provolone, Italian seasoning, pepper, tomatoes, and spinach to the sauce and stir well. Pour into oiled 9x13" pan and top with parmesan. Bake at 350 for 30 min. Serves 6.

This was delicious, simple, and another great combination of pasta, veggies, and cheese. There was an abundance of sauce that didn't seem to cook off while this was baking, so next time I'll reduce the amount of milk (or allow it to thicken more) to prevent this from occurring.

Well, the month is just about over, so this will be the last post from the cookbook of the month, "The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook". This is such a solid book that includes a huge variety of recipes. I often turn to it for simple ideas, as most of the recipes come together quickly and use ingredients that I usually have on hand. My favorite recipe that I made from it this month was chicken and corn maque choux (partly because it was really good, and partly because it brings back good memories). My parents have made this twice this month, so apparently I'm not the only one that likes it! I'm happy to say that I would make all of the recipes that I tried from this book this month again (lentil soup, roasted veggie pasta, sweet and sour cabbage, jalapeno cornbread, huevos rancheros, spicy tofu and noodles, and this pasta recipe), although with a few tweaks in places. This book has also provided me with great recipes for venison lasagna and kamut pilaf in the past few months. Sometimes simplicity pays off!

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