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Baked Pasta with Spinach, Lemon, and Cheese

Photo: John Autry; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
Total time 1 hr, 33 mins
Yield 6 servings
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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Nutrition 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

How to Make It

  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.