SPINACH NOODLE & CHEESE BAKE
The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb
This is a great dish for a family dinner, as it's hearty and filling and tastes great. Serve it with baby carrots.
Prep (25 minutes) +
Cook (30 minutes)
• 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach
• 8 ounces mostaccioli or penne (make the whole 16-ounce box if you want some plain pasta for the kids)
• 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
• 1 cup sliced onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
• 1/4 cup flour
• 2 1/2 cups nonfat or low-fat milk
• 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon fresh
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh
• 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
• 1/4 cup bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Thaw the spinach in the microwave and drain it thoroughly.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain it.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter or margarine. Add the onions and garlic and saute them until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook the onions for 30 seconds more, stirring them constantly. Gradually add the milk. Cook the mixture until it is bubbly, about 4 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese, the basil, and the oregano.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, the onion-cheese sauce, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the tomatoes, and the spinach. Stir the mixture well and spoon it into the baking dish.
On a small plate, using your fingers or a fork, combine the bread crumbs, the remaining 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of the butter or margarine. Sprinkle this topping over the pasta.
Bake the casserole for 30 minutes or until it is thoroughly heated.
Nutritional Information per serving:
Total Fat 11g, 18%
Saturated Fat 7g, 34%
Cholesterol 30 mg, 10%
Sodium 630 mg, 26%
Total Carbohydrate 49g, 16%
Dietary Fiber 4g, 16%