My version of the Italian-inspired classic dish combines a variety of tomatoes, spinach, and low-fat cheeses in a way that appeals to all palates. The flavor is mild, so feel free to up the seasoning. Enjoy it guilt free.
Baked Penne with Triple-Tomato Spinach Sauce
- Cooking and Prep: 1 h
- Serves: 8
Prepare the Sauce and Pasta
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté till fragrant, about one minute. Add chopped tomatoes and cook two more minutes.
Add canned tomatoes, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15–20 minutes. Midway, add the marinara sauce.
Meanwhile, cook penne. Drain, but do not rinse.
Add spinach to the sauce and cook covered for four minutes, or until softened. Stir together well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Feel free to add oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, etc. Add this to the pasta and mix together in a large bowl.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Line an 8- x 12-inch (20- x 30-cm) oven-to-tableware dish with Gefen Parchment Paper, lightly buttered.
Pour half of the pasta mixture in the pan. Sprinkle half the Muenster cheese and the cut-up American cheese on top.
Top with remaining pasta and sprinkle with the rest of the Muenster cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden on top. Cover midway if cheese starts to burn. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes before serving.
You can sub any kind of cheese you prefer. The idea is to have two different kinds and to keep the fat to a minimum.
If you prefer a creamier dish, pour an 8-ounce (226-gram) container of 9% cooking cream or half-and-half over the second layer of pasta before topping with cheese. Bake as above. Both versions are delicious.
Photography: Hudi Greenberger
Styling: Janine Kalesis