Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Smoked Cheese Pasta Bake

We didn't pick anything special because we're going to celebrate Valentine's Day on Friday. We decided on this recipe from the Jan/Feb 2007 issue of Cooking Light. It's very similar to a baked ziti, but has a creamier, smokier flavor. We liked it but didn't find it particularly outstanding, though we did discover that the Smoked Dutch Cheese from Trader Joe's is freaking amazing! :) I would save this recipe just in case we decide we want it again sometime, but we probably won't repeat it.

Smoked Cheese Pasta Bake
This dish owes its creaminess to a layer of tangy sour cream. Make it on a Sunday afternoon, and enjoy leftovers for another meal during the week. Or you can assemble the casserole, refrigerate overnight, and bake shortly before serving.

1 pound uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded smoked farmer or mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

Heat marinara sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add salt, pepper, and spinach, stirring until blended; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cooked pasta.

Spoon half of pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine sour cream, smoked cheese, and basil; spread over pasta mixture in dish. Spoon the remaining pasta mixture over sour cream mixture; sprinkle evenly with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings
(Note: I think it makes more than 8 servings, because we halved the recipe and still have a ton left over!)

1 comment:

Lisa! (from MA incase you know a million Lisa's) said...

This sounds really good and is at my level of cooking (as easy as possible), but you didn't say if you liked it not. So... is it worth making?

I've been trying to find a good baked mac&cheese recipe forever. I tried Paula Deen's but hers called for eggs and when i cooked it the eggs pretty much scrambled instead of making it creamy which is what i thought she was going for :(