Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake Recipe

Imagine a wholesome, comforting dinner that blends the rich, creamy flavors of artichoke and spinach with the delightful texture of perfectly cooked pasta. This spinach and artichoke pasta bake is exactly that. A touch of white wine, garlic, and cheese enhances the flavor, making this dish a satisfying treat for family dinners or special occasions.

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake Recipe
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Photos of Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake Recipe

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While most of the ingredients in this recipe are commonly found at home, you may need to make a trip to the supermarket for fresh spinach and artichoke hearts. These two are key for the recipe, providing a unique flavor and texture. You can usually find artichoke hearts canned or jarred in the grocery store's canned veggie aisle. Don't forget the Ritz cracker crumbs for topping; they add a pleasing crunch to the dish.

Essential Ingredients for Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

Spinach: A leafy green full of nutrients that adds a fresh taste to the pasta.

Artichoke hearts: Gives a unique, mildly sweet flavor and meaty texture to the dish.

Bowtie pasta: A type of pasta that holds onto the creamy sauce well.

Shallot: Adds a mild, sweet, and slightly spicy flavor.

Garlic: Essential for adding depth to the sauce.

White wine: Helps to deglaze the pan and adds acidity.

Flour and butter: Used together to make a roux, the base for our creamy sauce.

Milk: The liquid base of the creamy sauce.

Cheeses: Mozzarella, Parmesan, and cream cheese give the dish its creamy, cheesy character.

Sour cream: Adds a tangy touch to the creamy sauce.

Ritz cracker crumbs: Gives a crunchy topping that contrasts with the creaminess of the dish.

Parsley: Used for garnish, adding color and a hint of freshness.

One reader, Karita Pinkerton says:

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This spinach and artichoke pasta bake recipe is a game-changer! The combination of flavors is simply divine. The creamy texture and the perfect blend of spinach and artichoke make it a delightful dish. It's a must-try for anyone who loves a comforting and delicious pasta bake.

Karita Pinkerton

Techniques Required

How to wilt spinach: In a large pot or skillet, cook the spinach over medium heat until it begins to wilt, stirring occasionally. This should take about 2-3 minutes.

How to make the cheese sauce: In a large pot over medium to medium-high heat, melt the butter completely. Whisk in the flour for about 1 minute, then gradually whisk in the milk, white wine, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, then add in the sour cream, cream cheese, 1 cup of parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.

How to assemble the pasta bake: Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the cheese sauce along with the wilted spinach and artichoke hearts. Mix well and pour the mixture into a 13x9-inch baking pan.

How to make the topping: Combine 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese with the Ritz cracker crumbs. Sprinkle this mixture over the pasta in the baking pan before baking.

How to bake the pasta: Bake the assembled pasta dish in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.

How To Make Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake Recipe

This creamy, cheesy pasta bake is cooked with shallots, combined with spinach and artichoke hearts, then topped with cracker crumbs and Parmesan.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 8ozfresh spinach,washed and dried
  • 1tbspsalt,for the pasta water
  • 1lbbowtie pasta
  • 2tbspextra-virgin olive oil
  • 1large shallot,chopped
  • 3cloves garlic,chopped
  • 6ozartichoke hearts,chopped
  • ½cupwhite wine
  • 4tbspbutter
  • 4tbspflour
  • 2cupsmilk
  • black pepper
  • ¼tspnutmeg
  • 8ozmozzarella cheese
  • cupsParmesan cheese,shredded, divided
  • 4ozcream cheese,at room temperature
  • ½cupsour cream
  • 1cupRitz cracker crumbs
  • ¼cupparsley,chopped

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.

  2. Add the salt and pasta and cook for 1 minute shy of what is on the box.

  3. Add olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat and add the shallots and garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. In a large pot over medium to medium-high heat, add the butter and melt completely.

  5. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute or so, then whisk in the milk, wine, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

  6. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes then add in the sour cream, cream cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese and mozarella cheese.

  7. Mix well, add the artichokes and raw spinach back in. Stir until spinach starts to wilt.

  8. Add pasta in and pour into a 13×9-inch baking pan.

  9. Mix the ½ cup Parmesan with the cracker crumbs. Top onto the pasta and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 461.41kcal
  • Fat: 23.89g
  • Saturated Fat: 12.81g
  • Trans Fat: 0.20g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 7.36g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.77g
  • Carbohydrates: 40.84g
  • Fiber: 2.99g
  • Sugar: 5.21g
  • Protein: 19.62g
  • Cholesterol: 59.08mg
  • Sodium: 511.29mg
  • Calcium: 443.35mg
  • Potassium: 410.14mg
  • Iron: 1.92mg
  • Vitamin A: 272.46µg
  • Vitamin C: 9.49mg

Technique Tip for Perfecting Your Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

When making the roux (butter and flour mixture), it's crucial to whisk it continuously to prevent it from burning. The roux not only thickens the sauce but also gives it a rich, nutty flavor. Also, when adding the spinach, make sure to add it last as it wilts quickly. If you add it too early, it may overcook and lose its vibrant color and texture.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables, measure ingredients, and prepare the baking dish in advance to streamline the cooking process.

One-pot cooking: Consider using a large skillet or pot to cook the pasta and prepare the sauce simultaneously, reducing the number of dishes to clean.

Frozen spinach: Opt for frozen spinach to save time on washing, drying, and chopping fresh spinach.

Pre-shredded cheese: Use pre-shredded cheese to eliminate the time-consuming task of grating cheese by hand.

Multitask: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce and topping to maximize efficiency in the kitchen.

Bake in advance: Consider preparing the dish a day ahead and refrigerating it, then bake it when ready to serve to save time on the day of serving.

Substitute Ingredients For Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake Recipe

  • fresh spinach - Substitute with kale: Kale has a similar texture and can hold up well in the pasta bake, providing a slightly different flavor profile.
  • bowtie pasta - Substitute with penne pasta: Penne pasta has a similar shape and texture, making it a suitable substitute for the bowtie pasta in this recipe.
  • extra-virgin olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a mild flavor and high smoke point, making it a good substitute for olive oil in this recipe.
  • shallot - Substitute with onion: Onions can provide a similar flavor profile to shallots and can be used as a substitute in this recipe.
  • artichoke hearts - Substitute with asparagus: Asparagus can provide a similar texture and a fresh, earthy flavor to the dish, making it a good substitute for artichoke hearts.
  • white wine - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth can add depth of flavor to the dish without the alcohol content of white wine.
  • butter - Substitute with olive oil: Olive oil can be used as a healthier alternative to butter in this recipe, providing a similar richness and flavor.
  • milk - Substitute with unsweetened almond milk: Unsweetened almond milk can be used as a dairy-free substitute for milk in this recipe.
  • mozzarella cheese - Substitute with fontina cheese: Fontina cheese has a similar meltability and mild flavor, making it a good substitute for mozzarella in this dish.
  • parmesan cheese - Substitute with pecorino cheese: Pecorino cheese has a similar salty and nutty flavor to parmesan and can be used as a substitute in this recipe.
  • cream cheese - Substitute with ricotta cheese: Ricotta cheese can provide a similar creamy texture and mild flavor, making it a suitable substitute for cream cheese in this dish.
  • sour cream - Substitute with Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt can provide a tangy creaminess similar to sour cream and can be used as a substitute in this recipe.
  • ritz cracker crumbs - Substitute with panko breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs can provide a similar crunchy texture as the cracker crumbs in this recipe.
  • parsley - Substitute with basil: Basil can provide a fresh and aromatic flavor to the dish, similar to parsley.

Presentation Tips for a Delightful Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the spinach and artichoke pasta bake, focus on creating a visually stunning plate. Use a large, flat plate to showcase the layers of the dish and ensure that each component is visible and well-arranged.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Add a pop of color and freshness to the dish by garnishing with freshly chopped parsley. Sprinkle it lightly over the pasta bake to provide a vibrant contrast and a hint of herbaceous flavor.

  3. Incorporate texture: Consider adding a crunchy element to the presentation by sprinkling a few Ritz cracker crumbs over the top of the pasta bake. This will not only enhance the visual appeal but also add a delightful textural contrast.

  4. Highlight the artichoke hearts: Arrange the artichoke hearts strategically on top of the pasta bake to draw attention to this flavorful ingredient. Their unique shape and color can serve as an eye-catching focal point on the plate.

  5. Emphasize the cheese: Showcase the richness of the dish by ensuring that the melted cheese is beautifully presented. Let it cascade over the sides of the pasta bake, creating an enticing and indulgent visual appeal.

  6. Consider individual servings: For a more refined presentation, consider serving the spinach and artichoke pasta bake in individual ramekins or small baking dishes. This approach adds an elegant touch and allows for personalized plating.

  7. Utilize negative space: Embrace the concept of negative space on the plate to allow the pasta bake to stand out. Avoid overcrowding the plate with excessive elements, and instead, focus on creating a balanced and visually appealing presentation.

  8. Attention to detail: Pay close attention to the edges of the plate, ensuring they are clean and free of any spills or smudges. A pristine presentation reflects professionalism and attention to detail in the culinary world.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

  • Pot: A large, deep container used for cooking pasta, boiling vegetables, and preparing sauces.
  • Skillet: A flat-bottomed pan with sloping sides, used for frying, searing, and sautéing ingredients.
  • Whisk: A kitchen utensil with a series of loops formed from thin wire, used for blending, whipping, and stirring ingredients.
  • Large pot: A deep cooking vessel used for boiling pasta, blanching vegetables, and preparing soups or stews.
  • Baking pan: A rectangular or square pan used for baking and roasting dishes in the oven.
  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for combining and mixing ingredients, such as for making dough, batters, or salads.
  • Food processor: A kitchen appliance used for chopping, blending, and pureeing ingredients, often used in preparing sauces and dips.
  • Measuring cup: A container used for measuring liquid or dry ingredients accurately in cooking and baking.
  • Whisk: A kitchen utensil with a series of loops formed from thin wire, used for blending, whipping, and stirring ingredients.
  • Oven: A kitchen appliance used for baking, roasting, and heating food items.

How To Store and Freeze Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

  • Allow the spinach and artichoke pasta bake to cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent condensation from forming and making the dish soggy.

  • To store in the refrigerator, cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Alternatively, transfer the cooled pasta bake to an airtight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

  • For longer storage, freeze the pasta bake. Wrap the baking dish securely with plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Label the dish with the date and contents. The pasta bake can be frozen for up to 3 months.

  • To reheat the refrigerated pasta bake, remove the covering and bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.

  • If reheating from frozen, remove the plastic wrap and cover the dish with foil. Bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the center is hot and bubbly. Remove the foil during the last 10-15 minutes of baking to allow the top to crisp up.

  • For individual portions, cut the cooled pasta bake into serving-sized squares and wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the wrapped portions in a freezer-safe container or bag. To reheat, unwrap the desired number of portions and bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.

How To Reheat Leftovers

  • To reheat leftover spinach and artichoke pasta bake, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil to prevent the top from burning and drying out. Place the covered dish in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pasta is heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

  • Another option is to reheat individual portions in the microwave. Place a single serving of the pasta bake on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until the pasta is heated through and the cheese is melted. Stir the pasta halfway through the reheating process to ensure even heating.

  • For a crispy top, after reheating the pasta bake in the oven or microwave, remove the foil and place the dish under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. Keep a close eye on it to prevent burning. This will give the breadcrumb topping a nice, golden-brown color and a crispy texture.

  • If the pasta bake seems a bit dry after reheating, you can add a splash of milk or cream to help restore moisture. Stir the liquid into the pasta before serving.

  • To maintain the best texture and flavor, consume the reheated spinach and artichoke pasta bake within 1-2 days of refrigeration. Ensure that the pasta is stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator to prevent it from drying out or absorbing other flavors.

Random Fact About Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

Spinach and artichoke pasta bake is a delicious and nutritious dish that combines the flavors of spinach, artichokes, and cheese. It's a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet while enjoying a comforting and satisfying meal.

Is This Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake Recipe Budget-Friendly?

This spinach and artichoke pasta bake recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients are relatively affordable and can be found in most grocery stores. The use of fresh spinach and artichoke hearts adds nutritional value to the dish. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $20, making it a budget-friendly option. As a culinary chef, I rate this recipe an 8 for its simplicity, flavor, and affordability.

Is This Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake Healthy?

This spinach and artichoke pasta bake recipe, while delicious, is not particularly healthy. The dish is high in calories, fat, and sodium due to the generous amounts of cheese, butter, and milk used. The white flour pasta and Ritz cracker crumbs also contribute to the dish's high carbohydrate content, which may not be suitable for those watching their carb intake. However, the recipe does include some nutritious ingredients, such as spinach and artichokes, which provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Swap the white flour pasta for a whole grain or legume-based alternative to increase fiber and nutrient content
  • Reduce the amount of cheese used, or opt for lower-fat varieties to decrease the overall fat and calorie content
  • Use low-fat milk and sour cream instead of full-fat versions to further reduce the fat content
  • Increase the amount of spinach and artichokes to boost the vegetable content and provide more nutrients
  • Replace some of the butter with additional olive oil, which is a healthier fat option
  • Use whole wheat breadcrumbs or crushed nuts instead of Ritz cracker crumbs for a more nutrient-dense topping
  • Add other vegetables, such as diced bell peppers or zucchini, to increase the overall nutrient profile of the dish

Editor's Thoughts on This Delectable Pasta Bake

The spinach and artichoke pasta bake recipe is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The use of fresh spinach and artichoke hearts adds a vibrant and earthy dimension to the dish, while the creamy white wine and cheese sauce brings a rich and indulgent element. The addition of nutmeg provides a subtle warmth, enhancing the overall complexity of the flavors. The crispy cracker crumb topping adds a satisfying crunch, complementing the creamy pasta bake. This recipe is a wonderful balance of comfort and sophistication, making it a perfect choice for a cozy family dinner or an elegant gathering.

Enhance Your Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Bread: A warm and crispy garlic bread would be the perfect accompaniment to this creamy spinach and artichoke pasta bake. The garlic flavor will complement the richness of the pasta bake, making every bite a delightful experience.
Caesar Salad: A classic Caesar salad with crisp romaine lettuce, tangy Caesar dressing, and crunchy croutons would provide a refreshing contrast to the indulgent flavors of the pasta bake. The combination of textures and flavors will make for a well-balanced meal.
Roasted Vegetables: Colorful and flavorful roasted vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes, would add a healthy and vibrant element to the meal. The natural sweetness of the roasted vegetables will complement the savory notes of the pasta bake.
Fruit Salad: A refreshing fruit salad with a mix of seasonal fruits would provide a light and refreshing option to balance out the richness of the pasta bake. The natural sweetness of the fruits will cleanse the palate and leave you feeling satisfied.

Delicious Alternatives to Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

Creamy Chicken Alfredo: This creamy and indulgent pasta dish is perfect for a cozy night in. The combination of tender chicken and rich alfredo sauce will leave you wanting more.
Mango Salsa Chicken: This vibrant and flavorful dish combines juicy mango salsa with tender chicken for a refreshing and satisfying meal. It's perfect for a summer dinner party or a quick weeknight meal.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad: This healthy and colorful salad is packed with roasted vegetables and protein-rich quinoa. It's a great option for a light lunch or a side dish for a barbecue.

Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

Appetizers:
Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory stuffed mushrooms are filled with a delicious mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs, then baked to perfection. They make the perfect bite-sized appetizer for any occasion.
Crispy Zucchini Fritters: These crispy zucchini fritters are made with shredded zucchini, flour, and seasonings, then pan-fried until golden brown. Serve them with a side of creamy dipping sauce for a delightful appetizer option.
Desserts:
Chocolate Lava Cake: Indulge in a decadent, rich chocolate lava cake that oozes with molten chocolate when you cut into it. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweetness and richness.
Strawberry Cheesecake: Create a luscious and creamy strawberry cheesecake with a buttery graham cracker crust. Top it with fresh sliced strawberries and a drizzle of strawberry sauce for a burst of fruity flavor in every bite.

Why trust this Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake Recipe:

This recipe guarantees a delectable dish, combining fresh spinach and artichoke hearts with a creamy, flavorful sauce. The use of mozzarella, parmesan, and cream cheese ensures a rich and indulgent flavor profile. The addition of white wine infuses a subtle complexity, elevating the overall taste. The precise instructions and combination of ingredients promise a satisfying and comforting meal, making it a trustworthy choice for any culinary enthusiast.

Want to share your experience making this Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake or discuss variations on the recipe? Join the conversation in the Recipe Sharing forum!
FAQ:
Can I use frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach?
Yes, you can use frozen spinach in this recipe. Make sure to thaw and drain the frozen spinach before using it in the recipe. You may need to adjust the quantity based on the package instructions.
Can I substitute the white wine with something else?
If you prefer not to use white wine, you can substitute it with chicken or vegetable broth. The wine adds a depth of flavor, but the dish will still be delicious without it.
Can I prepare this dish ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the pasta bake ahead of time. Assemble the dish up to the point of baking, cover it tightly, and refrigerate. When ready to bake, allow the dish to come to room temperature before baking as directed in the recipe.
Can I use a different type of pasta?
While the recipe calls for bowtie pasta, you can certainly use other types of pasta such as penne, rigatoni, or fusilli. Just be mindful of adjusting the cooking time according to the package instructions for the specific type of pasta you choose.
Can I omit the sour cream or use a substitute?
If you prefer not to use sour cream, you can substitute it with Greek yogurt for a similar tangy flavor. Alternatively, you can omit it altogether, though it does add a creamy texture to the dish.

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