Saturday, February 25, 2012

Healthy Pasta Bake in 15 minutes flat

It's possible I overbooked myself tonight, with a Vortex Cellars wine tasting just north of the city and The Dignitaries' three-year anniversary of the Seattle P-I's in the south end. And with home smack dab in the middle, there was no question about whether we would find the time to eat. The only question was whether it would be faster to go out and grab a quick bite to eat or to whip something together at home.

We pondered the options, I pondered the pantry, and I decided the wine drinking needed to continue, which meant home was the only realistic choice. With just 30 minutes to spare, I sliced up some onion, garlic and spinach, and got cooking with wine glass in hand.

Spinach and White Bean Pasta Bake
2 cups uncooked rotini pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
10 ounces spinach, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, divided

Cook pasta according to package directions, and preheat broiler.

Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, then stir in onion until it begins to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, then add tomatoes, oregano and basil. Simmer while the noodles cook, at least 5-10 minutes. When pasta has about 2 minutes left to go, add the beans to heat them through.

Drain pasta, then stir spinach into the sauce until wilted. Stir in the noodles and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese until everything is just barely mixed. Transfer to a baking dish, then sprinkle mozzarella and remaining 1/4-cup Parmesan cheese on top.

Broil until cheese begins to bubble, just a few minutes, then serve immediately.

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