Baked Whole Wheat Pasta With Spinach and Mozzarella

“A fresh, light, dish. I am sure you could use regular pasta, but the whole wheat pasta with fresh mozzarella (not pre-shredded) is really what makes this extra good. Baked with a golden brown crust and gooey cheese. Start dinner with a bowl of tomato soup (your favorite recipe) and a toasted baguette with pesto and parmesan. And then enjoy the main course.”
READY IN:
1hr
SERVES:
6-8
YIELD:
6-8
UNITS:
US

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 34 lb whole wheat pasta (I prefer to use the small shells, or you could use a small penne or even a spaghetti)
  • 1 large onion, cut in quarters and thin sliced
  • 4 cups fresh Baby Spinach
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in small cubes
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 1 12 cups sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup toasted fresh breadcrumb (you could also use dried, but the fresh are really worth it, See Below for Recipe)
  • 3 -4 tablespoons olive oil (2-3 tablespoons to garnish the pasta, 1 tablespoon to saute the vegetables)
  • salt
  • pepper (I like lots of pepper for this dish)
  • Recipe for Fresh Bread Crumbs
  • 2 slices bread, fresh everyday bread works best
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 12 teaspoon italian seasoning

Directions

  1. Almonds -- In a medium dry saute pan on medium high heat, add the almonds and cook a couple of minutes until they get golden brown. Keep an eye of them, they do not take long.
  2. Fresh Bread Crumbs -- If you are using dry bread crumbs, skip this step.
  3. Chop up the bread fairly fine. Then in that same saute pan you used to toast your almonds in, bring to medium high heat and add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Toss in the bread crumbs, seasoning and toast until golden brown. They only take 1-2 minutes and stir often.
  4. Pasta -- Cook the pasta according to package direction in salted boiling water. Drain well, return to the pot and toss with the olive oil and set to the side off the heat. As the pasta cooks, saute your vegetables.
  5. Vegetables -- Once again, use that same saute pan and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and heat to medium medium/high heat. Add the garlic, onion and little salt and pepper and saute 2-3 minutes, then toss in the spinach and saute just a few seconds until the spinach is slightly wilted. Don't cook more than just a few seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 of the lemon zest and 1 cup of the almonds. Add to the pasta along with the chicken broth. Check for seasoning, salt and pepper. Personally, I like to add some extra pepper.
  6. Bake -- In a 13x9 or similar size baking dish, sprayed with Pam or any non-stick spray, add the remaining lemon zest. Then add 1/2 of the pasta, 1/2 the cheese; then the rest of the pasta, and the rest of the cheese. Sprinkle with the almonds, and then top with the bread crumbs and cover with foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes until the bread crumbs get golden brown.
  7. Serve -- ENJOY! I like to keep it a bit healthy and serve with a bowl of tomato soup and a baguette with melted cheese.

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