|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
This baked pasta and cheese is a delicious and special side dish or vegetarian main dish. Add 1 to 2 cups of diced cooked ham or chicken to this dish if you like.
The casserole would be an excellent potluck dish or holiday side. Serve this tasty pasta dish with a simple salad or serve it along with grilled or baked chicken, shrimp, or chops.
This penne bake with ham and peas is another option if you are looking for something heartier with meat.
- 8 ounces pasta (twists, mini penne, etc.)
- 8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- Dash pepper (or to taste)
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 1 cup soft bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish or spray with cooking spray.
Cook pasta in boiling salted water following package directions; drain and rinse with hot water.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat. Stir in flour until smooth and bubbly. Add the milk and continue cooking, stirring, until thickened.
Add the basil and the salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the spinach leaves until wilted; stir in the hot drained pasta.
Stir in the mozzarella cheese until well blended. Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.
In a bowl, toss bread crumbs with the melted butter; sprinkle over the pasta mixture.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until nicely browned and hot.