Spinach and Artichoke Baked Pasta
Creamy, rich, and topped with a crispy crust made from crushed buttery Ritz crackers, Spinach and Artichoke Baked Pasta is just like the warm dip transformed into a pasta.
baked pasta, make-ahead meal, vegetarian casserole
Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Large Saute Pan
9 x 13 Baking Dish
Small Mixing Bowl
For the Pasta
Dried Pasta, like Cavatappi, Fusili, or Penne
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
12 oz jar
Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped if in large pieces
Frozen Cut Leaf Spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
Thyme Leaves, fresh or dried
Red Pepper Flakes
(whole milk will make for the most rich, creamy sauce, but any milk will work)
(use block cream cheese, not the variety in a tub)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Ritz Crackers, crushed
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Unsalted Butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400°F / 204°C. Brush a 9x13 baking dish with oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Place a large saute pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and then artichokes to heated oil. Saute until artichokes are starting to turn golden and crisp around the edges, 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic and spinach and saute until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add butter to pan. When butter melts, stir in flour, salt, thyme, black pepper, and red pepper flakes until no dry spots of flour remain.
Pour 1 cup of stock into pan and whisk until it begins to simmer. Add remaining stock and milk and bring to a simmer. Simmer until slightly thick, about 5 minutes.
Remove sauce from heat and whisk in cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, and lemon zest.
Stir pasta into sauce and transfer to prepared pan.
In a small bowl, combine crushed Ritz, parmesan cheese, and melted butter. Sprinkle over top of pasta.
Bake pasta, uncovered, until topping is golden and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
Make ahead - The pasta can be assembled up to a day ahead of time. Wait to add the topping until right before baking.