Spinach & Ricotta Pasta Bake


Preparation time: 15

Cooking time: 30

3 cloves of garlic

2tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

1 chicken or vegetable stock cube

Splash of red wine vinegar

Pinch of sugar

Small bunch of basil leaves

320g dried rigatoni or penne pasta

200g ricotta cheese

1/2tsp nutmeg

Handful bread crumbs

3tbsp grated parmesan

1 fresh mozzarella ball, roughly torn

salt and pepper

  1. To prepare the sauce, heat a medium sized pot over medium heat, once hot, add the olive oil and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the tinned tomato, then fill one of the empty tins with water and add this to the pot along with the stock cube and vinegar.
  3. Bring to a simmer then cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add sugar if sauce is too tart. Stir in the torn basil leaves and remove from heat. Set aside until needed.
  5. Cook the pasta in a large pot according to the pack instructions until al dente. Drain the water from the pasta then add the tomato sauce to the cooked pasta, gently folding the sauce through the pasta.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 200°C / 180°C fan.
  7. Place spinach leaves in a sieve or colander and set over a sink. Bring a full kettle of water to a boil then pour the boiled water over the spinach to wilt it. Rinse with cold water to cool. Squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible, then roughly chop.
  8. In a bowl, combine chopped spinach with the ricotta, ground nutmeg, a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Mix together.
  9. To assemble, spoon the sauced pasta into a large baking dish, about 20x25cm (8x10inches). Drop spoonful’s of the ricotta mixture randomly on top of the pasta, then arrange torn pieces of mozzarella in between the ricotta.
  10. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
  11. Bake in the pre-heated oven until top is golden and crispy, about 25 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil before serving.

Real comfort food! A cheesy pasta dish with a wonderful combination of flavours from basil and spinach. It’s a crowd-pleaser that will satisfy the most picky eaters, adults and kids alike! It also freezes well, so you can double the amount, wrap individual portions and pop them into your freezer to save you cooking on a busy day.

If divided into 6 portions, this recipe provides approximately 11g of protein, 8g of fat, 48g of carbs and 313 kcal. If divided into 4, the count goes up to 17g of protein, 12g fat, 72g carbs and still moderate 469 kcal.