Baked Pasta with Spinach, Lemon, and Cheese

Baked Pasta with Spinach, Lemon, and CheeseRecipe
Photo: John Autry; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
Casarecce pasta is a short noodle with a curled edge that provides a large groove to hold the creamy sauce. If you can't find it, use fusilli, campanelle, or radiatore. Use a large, deep pot for the pasta so the spinach will fit inside, as well.


6 servings
Total time: 1 Hour, 33 Minutes

Recipe from

Cooking Light

Recipe Time

Total: 1 Hour, 33 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Calories 396
Fat 8.2 g
Satfat 3.5 g
Monofat 3.1 g
Polyfat 0.5 g
Protein 18.4 g
Carbohydrate 63.3 g
Fiber 4.9 g
Cholesterol 17 mg
Iron 3 mg
Sodium 611 mg
Calcium 325 mg


10 ounce casarecce pasta or fusilli (short twisted spaghetti)
1 (5-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups chopped onion
1.1 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 minutes or until almost al dente, omitting salt and fat. Remove from heat; stir in spinach. Let stand for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Drain pasta mixture well.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; cook 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add milk and wine; cook 8 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Stir in 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and rind. Remove from heat; stir in pepper. Add pasta mixture to onion mixture, and toss gently to coat.

4. Spoon the pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle half of panko breadcrumbs over pasta, and top evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Sprinkle the remaining half of panko breadcrumbs over cheese. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until browned and bubbly.