Baked Three Cheese Lemon Pepper Pasta

10 ounces rotini or penne pasta (like Barila whole grain)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
15 ounces Ricotta cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 + 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving
3 cups fresh Spinach leaves
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, basil or parsley

1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile saute garlic on low heat in a small skillet until fragrant. Remove from heat.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Butter an 8×8 deep-sided casserole dish.
3. In a large mixing bowl combine ricotta well with egg, milk, baking soda, 2 cups of mozzarella and Parmesan. Stir in spinach, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, thyme and sauteed garlic. Stir in pasta. Pour into casserole dish, sprinkle top with remaining mozzarella.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes until bubbly and hot in the middle. Allow to set five minutes before serving. Serve with plenty of fresh cracked pepper over top and Parmesan cheese.
Makes 5-6 servings

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