I have become such a fan of Heidi Swanson, through an email subscription to 101cookbooks.com, which she created. I get recipes emailed to me, and I love almost all of them that I try. Her stuff is vegetarian, healthy, light, and yummy.
It is late here, and I am up working, doing laundry, and I had made a trip to the grocery store earlier and picked up things to make this casserole. I absolutely love it! My favorite thing about it is that it is a pasta casserole without being a heavy cream base- or a tomato sauce base. It is light and tasty. The almonds make it!
Baked Pasta Casserole Recipe
I use whole wheat shells here, but feel free to experiment with other short pasta. If you are in a pinch for time forget the baking all together and just toss the cooked pasta with the spinach skillet, and sprinkle with the mozzarella before serving.
extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound whole wheat pasta shells
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups well-chopped fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, lightly toasted
zest of 2 lemons
8 ounces mozzerella, shredded or torn into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter/oil a large casserole dish or baking pan - something roughly equivalent to 13x9-inch pan.
Boil the pasta in salted water per package instructions. Drain pasta, toss with a glug of olive oil. Set aside.
In the meantime, heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Saute the onions with a couple pinches of salt for a few minutes (or if you want a bit more depth of flavor until caramelized). Stir in garlic. Stir in spinach. Cook for just about 20 seconds, until the spinach collapses a bit. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the almonds and 1/2 of the zest. Add to pasta and stir and stir - mixing extremely well, a minute or so.
Now sprinkle the bottom of baking dish with the rest of the zest. Add a layer of the pasta to the bottom of the baking pan, now sprinkle with some of the cheese, add more pasta, then more cheese. Finish with a layer of cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese on top is bubbly and melty. Serve sprinkled with the remaining almonds.
Visit http://www.101cookbooks.com/ for more great recipes from Heidi!