Baked Pasta Florentine

Yesterday I post about green smoothies, and today I post about cheesey pasta. What can I say? It's alllll about the balance people. I need kale in my life in a BIG way. Buuuuut I also need cheesey-crunchy-gooey-garlicky baked pasta. It's just like that sometimes. Oh, and anchovies. I've posted about my love of anchovies before, but seriously, if you are a doubter, jump on the train. Most grocery stores even sell a convenient tube of anchovy paste right along with tomato and pesto paste in the canned tomato aisle, which is quite nice for those of us who don't enjoy looking at the little guys in the jar. I get it, it's sorta awkward. But these little babies just add that special extra something that can't be replicated. (And shh.... if you didn't tell people, they would have NO idea AND they would think you were the best cook ever. Ummmm no brainer.)

  • 8 oz pasta (I use cavatappi but any short pasta like penne or farfalle will work)
  • 2 C fresh baby spinach
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 t anchovy paste
  • 1/3 C grated mozzarella
  • 1/4 - 1/3 C parmigiana reggiano
  • 1/4 C seasoned bread crumbs (I use whole wheat Italian style that Elm City Market makes - so good!)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 and get out an 8x8 casserole dish.
  • Boil water for the pasta in a large pot.
  • While the water is coming to boil, sauté the garlic, red pepper and anchovy paste in the olive oil in a small sauté pan on about medium until fragrant and the garlic is golden brown.
  • Drop the pasta and cook to very al dente (a few minutes less than the package directions) - it's going to cook more in the oven, and we don't want it to turn to mush!
  • Once done, drain the pasta and toss it together with the spinach, olive oil mixture and both cheeses right in the pasta pot.
  • Pour into the casserole, and top with breadcrumbs and a touch more parm.
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the top is golden brown. Dive in.