>Baked Pasta Casserole

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thank you heidi swanson for this genius recipe.

i had a lot of spinach to use and not a lot of time to use it, so I started scavenging for ideas that included spinach and pasta, and thanks to 101cookbooks and heidi swanson, I came upon this gem.
as a protein conscious veg, I am always looking for recipes that include some sort of bean or nut in them to ensure I get a little protein daily. So, I also loved the idea that this recipe included slivered almonds (which I had in my pantry!) in the mix. although baking a pasta casserole seems a little daunting in summer heat, this can easily not include the baking part and just be made into a pasta salad of sorts with some sprinkled mozzarella cheese.

Ingredients
1 Box Whole Wheat Rotini (101 cookbooks used shells but I only had rotini on hand…its up to you).

1 large yellow onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 bag of spinach

1/2 cup of sliced almonds

lemon zest (or juice)

8 ounces of mozzarella (i just just used a package of the pre-shredded stuff)

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and oil a large casserole/baking dish

2) Boil pasta in salted water

3) While pasta is boiling, chop onion and saute over medium heat in olive oil and chopped garlic cloves.

4) Add spinach to sauteed onions and cook for about 20-30 seconds before the spinach wilts.

5) Remove from heat and stir in almonds and add some lemon zest (i used a dab of lemon juice) and continue to stir the mix.

6) Add some more lemon zest (juice) to the bottom of the casserole and add a layer of the pasta/spinach/almond mixture. Top with a layer of cheese.

7) Add the final layer of pasta mix and top again with a layer of cheese.

8) Bake for about 10-15 minutes until mozzarella melts and is bubbling. Top with some more almonds.

9) Enjoy and Share!
Notes: It keeps getting better and better day after day…

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