Smoked Cheese Pasta Bake

I’m not a big fan of smoked cheese so I don’t know why I thought I might go for this recipe. It’s sort of like going on a date with someone you know you only like as a friend: kind of pointless and a little bit sad.

Ok, it’s not that it’s bad. There ARE a number of things I do like about it.

1) Using reduced-fat sour cream to increase creaminess
2) Throwing in spinach to sneak in vegetables
3) Super easy to make
4) Comfort food without a gazillion calories

In a nutshell: I’ll make this again, but I’ll substitute the smoked mozzerella for part skim mozzerella or ricotta. (Sort of like dating his brother without questionable ethics.)

Smoked Cheese Pasta Bake

1 pound uncooked penne or rotini
1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free marinara sauce (I like Newman’s Own Sockarooni)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded smoked farmer or mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated ParmigianoReggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

Heat marinara sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add salt, pepper, and spinach, stirring until blended; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cooked pasta.

Spoon half of pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine sour cream, smoked cheese, and basil; spread over pasta mixture in dish. Spoon the remaining pasta mixture over sour cream mixture; sprinkle evenly with ParmigianoReggiano. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

Categories: Entrees, Grade Range: B- to B+, Lighter Fare, Pasta, Vegetarian


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