Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Spinach Ricotta Pasta Bake

Thank you, Barilla Pasta/Galbani Cheese and Walmart for inspiring and sponsoring today’s post. #holidaypairing 

Oh, how I love the holidays. Family, friends, food, and fun! But let's get serious it's really all about the food. Am I right?!

There is something to be said about a home cooked meal. I must admit when the weather starts to turn I want hearty meals and a cozy fire. However, I still focus on better meal options. Making everything from scratch is key, but sometimes you just need a little help. Like pasta, homemade is delish but mama doesn't have time for that. However, I can pick up a box of Barilla Pasta knowing I'm making a smarter choice for my family. Barilla stands for the joy of healthy and pleasurable eating, in the believing that Italian pasta is the best recipe for good living, as it provides the perfect canvas for a nutritious meal.


Speaking of family, when it comes to holiday cooking I like to make dishes I can make ahead of time then just pop in the oven when dinner rolls around. Eating pasta brings the people in your life – friends, and family – together around the table. It’s one of the most appreciated foods around the world as something to be shared with loved ones. Pasta bakes are one of those holiday staple meals I keep up my sleeve. It's easy for sharing and flavor combinations are endless.

Galbani cheeses are my favorite to use in pasta bakes. Their ricotta is made in the traditional Italian style for a truly authentic taste, while the shredding mozzarella has a firmer texture for smooth shredding and better melting. Plus, no additives like cellulose, potato starch or other anti-clumping agents.


Personally, I like to keep ingredients minimal so you can enjoy the pasta bake as a main course or side dish. Oh, and it also travels well if you're headed to a potluck, etc. I'll let you in on a secret, I'm able to eat pasta guilt-free because of macros!

While I might count macros, pasta is considered an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Which is a healthy way of eating inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of the Mediterranean region. It incorporates a variety of quality food groups that should be eaten often in reasonable quantities, including pasta. Barilla products are made with few, wholesome ingredients to provide a simple and natural way to enjoy eating.

It's time to rethink the way you eat and make this pasta bake tonight! Prep ahead of time and let it cook while you decorate for Christmas, label holiday cards or wrap presents! Enjoy!


Spinach Ricotta Pasta Bake
Serves 6

Ingredients

10 oz  Barilla ziti pasta
15 oz Galbani Ricotta (I used low fat)
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups spinach, roughly chopped (tightly packed)
1.75 cups grated Mozzarella cheese (save 3/4 cup for topping - or just shred more if you want it extra cheesy)

Sauce
2 garlic cloves
24 oz Barilla Sauce, Traditional
2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried Italian Mixed Herbs
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp salt Black pepper
1 tsp salt (optional)


Ibotta Offer: Earn $2 when you purchase Barilla Pasta/Sauce & Galbani Cheese at Walmart

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, milk, parmesan, garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach and Mozzarella cheese.

Add the pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to the baking dish – I used a medium-sized casserole dish.

For the Sauce: Pour roughly 1/4 cup of the sauce onto the pasta. Then add the remaining ingredients to the bottle and give it a shake.

Once combined, pour over the pasta and top with cheese.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.

Serve while hot and fresh!

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