Who likes a generous serving of pasta bake made with creamy ricotta and heaps of spinach topped with golden melted cheese?
Sounds delish but it feels like a lot of work? How about a shortcut that will make things simpler?
Quick And Easy
Say, prep the sauce in 5 mins, cook the pasta in 10, and make the ricotta mixture while the pasta is boiling away. And let the oven do the rest of the job for you, sounds good?
Here’s The Shortcut: Pasta Sauce
The shortcut here is simply adding the flavourings into the bottle of tomato passata and giving it a good shake. That becomes your sauce. No need to cook it separately, which saves you time and effort. Brilliant, isn’t it?
Why use tomato passata and not just the regular diced or crushed tomatoes? It’s because passata makes a thicker and smoother sauce – the tomatoes are pureed and passed through a sieve, which is best for this recipe.
What will you do next? Cook your pasta. Grab 300 g of short pasta like ziti or penne and throw it in boiling salted water. That will only take around 10 minutes to cook.
The Ricotta Mixture
Then what? How about you mix the ricotta cheese, parmesan, and mozzarella with the chopped spinach and season it.
- you have your sauce prepared (5 mins)
- your noodles are done (10 mins)
- your ricotta mixture is set aside.
Assemble The Pasta And Bake
All you’re left to do is add the pasta to the ricotta mixture, stir, and transfer to a baking dish. Get the sauce and add on top of the pasta, and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese. Bake.
That’s a quick and easy dinner for up to 6 people. It’s tasty and you’ll love that it has loads of spinach for added nourishment. So, there’s your delicious dinner done and dusted with very minimal work!
If there’s any left, just reheat in the microwave for lunch the following day.
My “Why” For Sharing It?
I got interested in the dish because it looked amazing – that was first, and I was intrigued by the shortcut used to incorporate the sauce. And the only way to find out if it would work was to make it. Now I could say it was impressive! An indulgent and delicious pasta dish with little prep that worked well for me, and I bet for you, too.
The recipe is from Nagi of RecipeTinEats and you can find the exact ingredients and instructions written by her below.
How To Make Spinach Ricotta Pasta Bake
Spinach & Ricotta Pasta Bake
- 10 oz (300 g) ziti pasta, uncooked or other short pasta of choice
- 1.5 cups (150 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded or more
- 1 lb (500 g) ricotta (Note 1)
- 1/2 cup (50 g) parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 garlic cloves , crushed
- 12 oz (350 g) frozen chopped spinach (Note 2) thawed and excess liquid pressed out
- 1 cup (100 g) Mozzarella cheese, grated
- ¾ tsp salt & pepper
Shortcut Pasta Sauce
- parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Pasta Sauce: Pour out about 1/4 cup of the passata (to make room to add flavourings). Add the remaining Pasta Sauce ingredients into the bottle, screw the lid on and give it a shake.
- Cook pasta for time per packet MINUS 1 minute.
- Scoop out 1 mugful pasta cooking water, drain and set aside.
- Ricotta Mixture: Mix Ricotta Mixture ingredients in a very large bowl. Use a splash of pasta cooking water if needed to make it creamy.
- Add pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to a heatproof baking dish.
- Top with Pasta Sauce, top with cheese. Loosely cover with foil.
- Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve while hot.