This Baked Penne with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe is made with fresh spinach, sundried tomates in a rich, creamy cheese sauce.
This vegetarian casserole, Baked Penne with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe, is rich and cheesy and quick and easy to make–ready in 30 minutes or less.
Recently, I needed to come up with a quick and easy pasta recipe for my family that would be layered with vegetables, along with a touch of cheese.
What I made was sort of like a cross between mac and cheese meets rich and creamy Alfredo sauce. This oozy-gooey goodness is enhanced with the tartness of the Greek yogurt, the sweetness of sun-dried tomatoes with a hint of fresh spinach.
Top with mozzarella and, well, you’ve got yourself a winner dinner. (Hey, it rhymes!)
Recipe Tip: If you’re planning on feeding a large crowd, all you have to do is double the recipe accordingly. It’s that easy!
How to Make Baked Penne with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Recipe
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. And, while you are waiting for the oven to get up to that temperature, go ahead and boil your pasta (1 pound dried penne) according to the package instructions. Be sure that you salt your water. Pasta will cook for about 9 minutes, tops.
I like to start with chopping my sun-dried tomatoes into small chunks. I admit, I’m a sucker for sun-dried tomatoes, so I doubled the amount to 1 cup. If you aren’t keen on them, cut it back to 1/2 cup.
Next, rough chop one medium red onion. I chose red over yellow because I like the subtle difference in taste. But if you like yellow onions and that’s all you have, go ahead and use it. The recipe will still taste delicious.
Add your basil next. I recommend using fresh basil over dried because it gives it a fresher flavor. You don’t have to get fancy here, though. Rough chop it and toss it in the pot with the onions. I like to add my minced garlic now, as well.
Cook everything together on medium/medium high, except the spinach. The spinach will be too wilty if you add it now.
Once the onions have become translucent, remove the pan from the heat and put the cooked mixture in a bowl to cool slightly.
Time to cook the roux. In the same pot that you cooked the onion mixture, melt the butter. Then add the flour and stir well until it is turns golden. Next add the milk. It’s best if you slowly drizzle it in.
Then, let the roux boil a bit to get the “floury” flavor out.
Time to add the onion mixture. Mix well.
The pasta should be cooked by now, so add everything else into the pot. Everything, that is, except the mozzarella.
Turn off the heat and get your deep baking dish ready by spraying it with some non-stick spray. Be sure to coat it evenly so nothing sticks to the sides.
Then scoop your pasta mixture into the baking dish.
And finally, top this ooey, gooey mixture with a good amount of mozzarella.
Put it into the oven and let it bake for about 30 minutes or until it turns golden brown.
I like to let it rest for five minutes before I dig in. Serve. Enjoy!
For more delicious dinner ideas be sure to check out my Pinterest Board: Dinner Recipes from Wisconsin Homemaker, as well as these family favorites:
- Authentic Bolognese Ragu
- Skillet Eggplant Parmesan
- Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce and Sausage
- Artichoke Hearts with Braised Sausage and Pasta
- Fresh Spinach Lasagna
- Tomato Sauce Recipe with Butter and Onions
Baked Penne with Spinach and Sundried Tomatoes
- 8 ounces Greek yogurt whole milk
- 8 ounces sour cream
- 4 cups penne pasta cooked
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1/4 cup butter unsalted
- 1 cup onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp mustard dry
- 2 1/2 cups milk whole
- 4 cups Italian 4 cheese blend shredded
- 1 tbsp basil fresh, chopped finely
- 2 cups spinach fresh, chopped
- 1 cup sundried tomatoes chopped finely
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cook penne pasta according to package instructions (approximately 9 minutes).
- In a large pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and soften onions.
- Next add sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil and spices.
- Once cooked through remove and place in bowl.
- For the roux: In the same large pot, add butter. Melt.
- Add flour and stir continuously until slightly golden.
- Drizzle in milk and stir well until flour, butter mixture is smooth.
- Take off heat.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except for mozzarella and stir well.
- Place mixture into a well-greased deep baking dish.
- Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake until bubbly and golden brown. (Approx. 20 minutes covered, 10 minutes uncovered)
- Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes.
- Serve. Enjoy!