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!
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.)
Drain the pasta, then place it back in the pan and set aside.
Meanwhile, drain the spinach.
And squeeze as dry as possible.
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.)
Process until puréed.
Add the spinach mixture to the pasta and stir to combine.
Transfer to a ceramic 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.
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Baked Penne with Spinach, Ricotta & Fontina
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.