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READY IN 1 hr
10 mins
Cheesy Spinach and Penne Bake Recipe

Cheesy Spinach and Penne Bake

Rating 4-0 out of 5 - Most cooks definitely will make this recipe again
An Ideal Recipe for SlimmersAn Ideal Recipe for Vegetarians
Graham

Recipe by  

Cheesy Spinach and Penne Bake is one of those "more-ish" recipes that will get you reaching for the serving spoon more than once. It's a great family meal and, though there's a little preparation involved, the end result is well worth the effort. You’re sure to find this soothing dish will satisfy your cravings for nostalgic meals.

      Preparation Time: 40 Minutes

      Cooking Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients for Cheesy Spinach and Penne Bake

If you are not familiar with any ingredients, please check our International Cooking Terms page.
US Imperial Measurements  UK Imperial Measurements  Metric Measurements

Currently displaying quantities in US Imperial Measurements
to serve 6:
12 oz
penne
1 tablespoon
olive oil
½ tablespoon
fennel seeds, crushed
3 cloves
garlic
2 x 14oz cans
chopped tomatoes
 
fresh basil
 
salt and pepper
8 oz
mozzarella
1 lb
cottage cheese
1 oz
grated Parmesan
10 oz
frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry)

 

How to Cook Cheesy Spinach and Penne Bake

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the penne and cook according to the directions on the packet for al dente (usually just a few minutes). While the pasta is cooking, peel and thinly slice the garlic, drain the water from the mozzerella, grate (mince) half of it and cube the other half.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat, add the crushed fennel seeds and sliced garlic and cook for about 2 minutes until aromatic. Add the tomatoes, one sprig of fresh basil, one teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil then immediately reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and the flavours have blended together to remove the raw tomato taste. Remove from the heat, discard the basil and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Drain the pasta when cooked and pour the sauce over, tossing the pasta well to coat. Either mist a 2-2½ quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, or use a small knob of butter to grease the bottom and sides. Add half the pasta and the cubed mozzarella to the baking dish.
  4. Place the cottage cheese in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the shredded mozzarella and Parmesan and pulse two or three times to blend well. Combine half the cottage cheese mixture with the spinach and mix to break up the spinach. Spread the spinach in spoonfuls over the pasta in the baking dish then top the spinach layer with the rest of the pasta and then the remaining cottage cheese mixture.
  5. Bake in a preheated moderately hot oven (Mk 6 - 400ºF - 200ºC) for about 30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes, and then scatter a handful of torn basil leaves over the top.

 
Graham GRAHAM'S HOT TIP:
Comfort meals are always there ready to give you a cuddle when you need it most. However, for a slimmer's version of this recipe, you can use whole wheat pasta, light mozzarella, low fat cottage cheese and the vegetarian alternative to Parmesan.
 
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Reviews of Cheesy Spinach and Penne Bake

Rating 4 out of 5 - Many cooks will make this recipe again February 22 2015
I thought this dish was really good and tasty. I used a little more seasoning than the recipe suggests, otherwise I think it might have been a little bland. And I added a spoonful of sugar to the sauce so it wasn't so acidic from the tomatoes. There are a few steps to it but my family thought it was well worht it! They loved it!
(7 reviews)
 

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