Baked Penne with Spinach, Ricotta & Fontina

Tested & Perfected Recipes

In this easy recipe, penne pasta is tossed in a creamy spinach and ricotta sauce, topped with cheese, and baked until golden brown.

spinach ricotta pasta

This easy weeknight pasta dish is a quick riff on spinach and ricotta cannelloni. Instead of stuffing pasta shells with the classic spinach and ricotta filling, I toss penne pasta in a creamy spinach, basil and ricotta sauce, top it with cheese, and then bake it until golden. You can get the pasta in the oven in just 20 minutes; toss a salad while it bakes and dinner is done!

What you’ll need to make Baked penne with spinach, ricotta & fontina

ingredients

how to make Baked penne with spinach, ricotta & fontina

To begin, cook the penne in boiling salted water until al dente, about 9 minutes. (It will cook more in the oven so you don’t want it completely cooked.)

boiling-pasta

Drain the pasta, then place it back in the pan and set aside.

cooked-pasta

Meanwhile, drain the spinach.

spinach

And squeeze as dry as possible.

spinach-dry

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the dry spinach, basil, ricotta, cream cheese, half-and-half cream, 1 cup fontina, 3 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. (The cream cheese might seem like an odd addition but it prevents the ricotta from becoming grainy when it is heated.)

spinach-and-cheese-mixture-1

Process until puréed.

spinach-and-cheese-mixture-2

Add the spinach mixture to the pasta and stir to combine.

pasta-in-sauce

Transfer to a ceramic baking dish.

pasta-in-dish

Top with the remaining fontina and Parmigiano Reggiano.

ready-to-bake

Bake until the pasta is bubbling and the top is golden in spots, about 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve.

baked-penne-spinach-ricotta-fontina-3

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Baked Penne with Spinach, Ricotta & Fontina

In this easy recipe, penne pasta is tossed in a creamy spinach and ricotta sauce, topped with cheese, and baked until golden brown.

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound penne
  • 1 (10-oz) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • ½ cup packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 6 oz (2 cups) grated fontina, divided
  • 5 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch ceramic baking dish.
  2. Cook the penne in boiling salted water until al dente, about 9 minutes. (It will cook more in the oven so you don’t want it completely cooked.) Drain, then place the cooked penne back in the pan and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the spinach, basil, ricotta, cream cheese, half-and-half, 1 cup of the fontina, 3 tablespoons of the Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Process until puréed.
  4. Add the spinach mixture to the pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining fontina and Parmigiano Reggiano. Bake until the pasta is bubbling and the top is golden in spots, about 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 692
  • Fat: 34 g
  • Saturated fat: 20 g
  • Carbohydrates: 65 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 31 g
  • Sodium: 956 mg
  • Cholesterol: 112 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Delicious! It’s like pesto Mac and cheese. Everyone loved it and it was much simpler than I was expecting—a quick and satisfying dinner, for sure.

    • — Elan on March 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • You are my first go to place for fantastic recipes! However, I messed this recipe up somehow. It was tasteless, dry, and kind of gritty. I actually threw it all away. Oh well. Some days I am in a brain fog.

    • — Pamela K Senneff on February 19, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this tonight and it was excellent and kid approved. I didn’t have cream cheese so I used Mascarpone cheese and it was an excellent substitute. I don’t have a food processor, but used my Vitamix blender and it worked perfectly. Would makes this recipe again.

    • — Lori Rasmussen on February 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Perfect!! My husband is an avowed carnivore but has agreed to a weekly meatless dinner. This was my choice this week. He quickly went back for seconds and offered post dinner compliments (not unusual, he is an appreciative diner). I will definitely make this again, so flavourful and satisfying.

    • — Andrea on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Lovely dish as one of our meat free dinners

    • — Louise Plume on January 29, 2021
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  • The last time I made this recipe I put 1/2 the unbaked recipe in individual french white containers, topped with the cheese and froze them. This week I pulled them out at noon to thaw a bit then baked them at dinner time. These little dishes turned an otherwise crumby day into a warm and comforting evening with time to chat and clear my head instead of boiling, stirring and doing dishes. Having a hearty meal waiting in the freezer is so very valuable. The flavors and richness of this dish makes it five stars.

    • — Deb Usprich on January 29, 2021
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  • This is such a fabulous recipe. Will not disappoint.

    • — Janice on January 29, 2021
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  • Great meatless Monday meal. Served it with a tomato salad and garlic bread and everyone at the table young and old was happy!

    • — Deb on January 28, 2021
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  • Could not pass up this recipe. Penne with Spinach, Ricotta & Fontina…..Eye appealing and healthy ingredients. This is a perfect dish for my honey who just had dental surgery. Put it together tonight, had the ingredients on hand) but will bake and serve it tomorrow. The dish will absorb the ingredients and should bake up just fine. All of Jennifer’s recipes are a breeze to follow. I have not been disappointed yet. Will serve it with Jenni’s delicious French apple cake. It is very light and delicate for an apple cake. DB

    • — Dee Barclay on January 28, 2021
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  • Great winter time side dish. Easy way to get a vegetables into the little ones.

    Definitely will use again.

    • — L. Nascimento on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Really a delicious, easy recipe!

    • — Jan Stone on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I did make this recipe and it was delicious. I did substitute fresh baby spinach for frozen. It only took a minute to wilt it on the stove. It was a rich and wonderful dinner to have on a cold winter day. My husband thought it was the best!

    • — Sandra on January 28, 2021
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  • This dish is great. My 3 year old hates spinach, but in this dish I can actually get her to eat some! I didn’t have fontina cheese and so just used and italian blend instead, it was great!

    • — Shana on January 28, 2021
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    • one of the best baked pasta i have come across.. additionally with a healthy add on veggiee..such a guilt free receipe even for healthy freaks around 🙂

      • — Radhulya on January 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • My family loved this. Warm, hearty, and comforting. Couldn’t be easier to make.

    • — Mike Dean on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious! A keeper for sure

    • — Mary P O'NEILL on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is a must have recipe, full of flavor and although I tweaked it a little ( less cholesterol ) so my old self can eat it without reservation, it is one of my favorites. Easy to make and feeds a bunch!

    • — Priscilla on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is a delicious dish! So creamy! Thanks, Jen. We love your recipes and I have used nearly every single one from your cookbook.

    • — Julie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Oops! Forgot to give the recipe five stars!

      • — Julie on January 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen, I’m such a big fan of all your recipes. Everything I’ve tried always turns amazing. Thanks so much for keeping sharing with us.
    I’d love to try this recipe. What’s the best substitute for fontina? It can be sometimes hard to find where I live.
    Thank you

    • — Mim on January 27, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! You could use Gruyere or Mozzarella in place of the Fontina. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 27, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hello!
    If I wanted to add a protein to this pasta which protein would you recommend? Shrimp? Ground turkey?

    Thank you!

    • — Jacqueline Loza on November 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • Ground turkey or ground turkey sausage would be nice. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on November 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this for Sunday dinner. It was fabulous. Even my Dad who does not like “pasta” had a second helpings! I will definitely make this again.

    • — Darlene on July 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • My husband loves all pastas and the combination with spinach always is his favorite. Your tip to add the cream cheese to it made it an even tastier dish. Instead of the Fontina I used the Mozzarella which turned out great.
      Thanks for your recipe !

      • — Milushka on January 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • i didn’t like it very much and won’t add to my recipes but i loved your chicken cashews dish.

    • — Gabriela on June 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was a great recipe, I did substitute the nutmeg with oregano and the fontina cheese with mozzarella and added a little parsley towards the puree. Loved it!! Thank you

    • — Mirdrys Gomez on June 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • I don’t have fresh basil or cream cheese! Can I sub dried basil? What about the cheese? Thanks!
    Hannah

    • — Hannah on April 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Hannah, you really need fresh basil for this — sorry! For the cream cheese, you could get away with using half heavy cream and half ricotta. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 21, 2020
      • Reply

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