Two Cheese Spinach Pasta Casserole

Two Cheese Spinach Pasta Casserole

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
3 teaspoons chopped  thyme
2 (finely) chopped bay leaves
3 teaspoons chopped basil
2 teaspoons chopped oregano
6 ounces fresh spinach
1 lb. ricotta cheese
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
a squeeze of lemon juice (optional, to taste)
1 package of Penne pasta (cook al dente)
2 to 2 1/2 lbs. tomatoes
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Boil pasta in large pot of water, al dente.

If using fresh tomatoes, chop using a food processor, texture should be chunky.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and spices; saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach; saute until just barely wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, ricotta, salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice. IMG_1887.JPG

Add the spinach mixture, pasta and stir to combine. Spread evenly into a large baking dish. Pour 1/3 c. water over pasta mixture. Top with mozzarella cheese. IMG_1896.JPGCover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 30-40 minutes; when the liquid is bubbling and the noodles have softened, remove the foil and bake uncovered for 10 more minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving so that the noodles can soak up all the extra moisture.IMG_1897.JPGIMG_1900.JPG

Enjoy!                 Romans 8:28

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This recipe, blog post and photos by Tisha Johnson Matthews, of Sweet Basil Farm & Gardens. Special thanks to J. David Matthews, of Barnesville, Georgia for support and patience with all that I try and test.

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