I am a fan of one pot pastas for easy, delicious weeknight meals, from pumpkin and goat cheese to coconut carrot curry or shrimp and chorizo. And I am branching out into one pot baked pastas now. A host of flavors simply put in a dish and baked in the oven. This version is like a spinach artichoke dip for dinner. Creamy Boursin cheese adds flavor without effort while simple jarred artichoke hearts and fresh spinach add dimension. And seriously, just put it in a baking dish and slide it in the oven.
Two rounds of Boursin cheese are the centerpiece here, packed with garlic and herbs already. Use artichoke hearts packed in brine or water, not marinated in oil which would make the dish greasy. I like to grate a block of fontina cheese for the creamy, slightly nutty flavor it adds, but you could use Swiss or Havarti. Fresh spinach wilts beautifully and stays green and bright – don’t use frozen, even squeezed out it will make your sauce watery. I simply tear the baby leaves by hand before dropping them into the dish so they are more fork friendly, but you can chop with a knife. A little sprinkle of parmesan cheese adds a punch of flavor and the zing of lemon juice brightens every thing up. I love little cup-shaped orecchiette pasta, but penne or corkscrews will work just as well. Test a piece of pasta from the center of the dish to see that it is cooked to your liking – it may take a bit longer than 40 minutes. And when you first check it in the oven, the sauce may look way to liquid, but when you add the spinach, remaining cheese and stir, let it sit for a few minutes and it will all come together. I love to serve some crusty bread with this to mop up some sauce.
Artichoke and Spinach Pasta Bake
2 (5.2 ounce) rounds Boursin cheese
10 ounces dried orecchiette pasta (or penne)
1 (14.75 ounce) jar artichoke hearts packed in water
4 cloves garlic, minced
7 ounces fontina cheese, grated
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
4 cups whole milk
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
5 ounces fresh baby spinach
Parmesan cheese to top
Lemon wedges to serve
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
- Place the Boursin cheese rounds in the dish and spread the pasta around it. Chop the artichoke hearts into bite sized pieces and spread across the pasta. Sprinkle over the minced garlic, then spread over the grated cheese, Italian seasoning and salt. Pour in the milk and lemon juice, cover the dish and bake for 45 minutes until the pasta is al dente (add a bit more time if needed). Remove the dish from the oven and uncover. Tear the spinach into bite size pieces and add to the pasta. Stir everything together to combine the Boursin then return to the oven for 10 more minutes (uncovered) until the spinach is wilted. Serve with fresh parmesan grated over the top and lemon wedges for squeezing.
This will be perfect for an easy dinner with friends. Warm and comforting but pretty!