This Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Bake (with Cherry Tomatoes and Chilli) is a ridiculously easy family meal, that can be put together with store cupboard ingredients if needs be.
This is a vegetarian dish that should satisfy most meat eaters. I tend to have meat or seafood with every dinner, but find that iron rich spinach is one ingredient I prefer in vegetarian dishes only (such as Spinach & Feta pie and Fiorintina Pizza).
The key to a good pasta bake is to undercook the pasta prior to baking in the oven, where it will finish cooking.
Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Bake Recipe
- 400g pasta (large tubes such as Rigatoni work best)
- 250ml tub of ricotta cheese
- 500g frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
- Grating of nutmeg
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- 500-700ml sieved tomatoes (Passata)
- 1 tsp chili flakes, or finely chopped red chilli
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp rosemary (finely chopped)
- 250g Cherry Tomatoes
- Parmesan (to taste)
- Breadcrumbs (from a slice or two)
- Salt & pepper
- In a large saucepan, cook the pasta to 2 mins less than al dente – usually about 4 mins under packet instructions.
- Mix in Riccotta, spinach, and nutmeg, then add the cherry tomatoes.
- At the same time, in a medium pan on a medium heat, fry the garlic and chilli in a little olive oil for a couple of minutes.
- Add the Passata and herbs, stir in, and keep on the lowest heat.
- Place the pasta mixture in a baking dish, and then spoon over the tomato sauce to completely cover.
- Top with breadcrumbs and grated parmesan.
- Bake at 180c/350F for 25-35 mins.
- Remove from oven, and leave to settle for a few minutes. The pasta will absorb more flavour and liquid, and will lead to a firmer texture of pasta bake.