Baked Ricotta and Spinach Rigatoni

Posted on 16 January 2013 by noelskitchen

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Stock up your freezer by making several casseroles at once to save time. You’ll be glad you did.

Baked Spinach and Ricotta Rigatoni

This is a new stock the freezer recipe for my family this month. I had some frozen spinach in the freezer that I needed to rotate out and when planning our menu for the week, I came across this recipe on the Food Network website. Since I had all the ingredients on hand, I decided to give it a try. Not only is this dish a comfort meal, but it’s one of those one-dish make ahead meals I like for the freezer.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-ounce) box or bag rigatoni
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used whatever I had on hand)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook rigatoni for 5 minutes in a pot of boiling, salted water. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside.

To make the bechamel sauce:

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Sweat the onion and garlic for a few minutes until softened and but not colored. Add the flour and stir until a smooth paste forms. Gradually whisk in the wine and then the milk.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking constantly and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper, to taste. Let cool slightly.
  3. Transfer cooled bechamel to a large mixing bowl and add the spinach, ricotta, and eggs. Mix in rigatoni and transfer to a greased 9 by13-inch baking dish. Top with grated mozzarella.
  4. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove foil and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned on top, the center is no longer runny, and the sides are bubbly.

Baked Spinach and Ricotta Rigatoni Plated

Add a side side and some bread with this and you have yourself a great family meal. The next time I try this recipe, I’m may add some mild Italian sausage, sliced mushrooms or diced chicken.

 

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