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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Baked Ricotta Penne

It's cold and raining here so baked pasta seemed like a great idea for dinner. This is such a quick and easy recipe and you can really throw in whatever you want and have on hand.

Baked Ricotta Penne
(Serves 6)

1 box penne (I used whole wheat)
1/2 pound ground turkey (I used 93/7)
1/2 cup ricotta (I used part-skim)
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fresh spinach
1 jar marinara sauce (I used Prego Heart Smart Traditional)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, lightly spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray. Bring water to a boil in a large pot for pasta. When water is boiling, add salt and pasta. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to over med-high heat. Add ground turkey and crumble with a wooden spoon as it cooks. After about 5 minutes, add minced garlic and roasted red peppers. Add sauce and reduce heat to low. Add ricotta cheese and stir until melted and combined. Lightly chop spinach and add to skillet. Cook until wilted and combined. Drain pasta. Add a ladle of sauce to the prepared baking pan. Add pasta and remaining sauce in layers to make it easier to combine. Mix well to ensure all pasta is coated with sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake approx 20 - 30 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. I served it with garlic bread but it also works well with steamed broccoli or a caesar salad if you want a lighter meal.

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