Thursday, September 11, 2008

Recipe - Spinach Ham Pasta Bake

I tried a new recipe I took off a friend's blog and adapted it a bit to our tastes. It was really good! This will be the last cheesy pasta meal I'll be making for a while because my family is starting a biggest loser challenge, and I don't think this dinner would fit into our health and wellness plan too well. It was a good send off though. Delicious!

Spinach Ham Pasta Bake

12 oz. - 16 oz. pasta tri-colored rotini
1/2 of an onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced (I leave this out because I am allergic, but I would imagine it would taste good in it)
2 Tb. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
8 oz. low fat cream cheese
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
8 oz. cubed ham
10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach
1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 c. of mozzarella cheese, shredded

Boil the pasta; drain. Preheat broiler. While pasta is cooking, defrost spinach & squeeze out excess liquid using your hands or a dishtowel. Melt butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes or until tender. Dust with flour and continue cooking for an additional minute. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring milk to a bubble and allow mixture to thicken a little bit. Then stir in the cream cheese, about half at a time. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and then add cayenne pepper. Stir in ham and spinach and remove from heat. Combine the pasta with the sauce, making sure all of the pasta is coated. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish and cover with bread crumbs and mozzarella. Broil until the cheese is melted and the top is a crispy golden brown.

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