Baked Spinach & Mozzarella Rigatoni with Butter Lettuce & Radish Salad

Baked Spinach & Mozzarella Rigatoni

with Butter Lettuce & Radish Salad

40 MIN
4 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Crispy on top, creamy underneath and undeniably delicious, we love baked pasta in pretty much any form. In this recipe, we’re making an elegant and colorful version with Roman rigatoni (a slightly longer type of rigatoni), tomato sauce, spinach, Parmesan and mild, melty mozzarella. On the side, a salad of butter lettuce, crunchy radishes and a garlicky lemon vinaigrette adds notes of citrus to our rich and savory bake.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    700 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
time-saving
tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Place the tomatoes in a bowl; gently break apart with your hands. Peel and small dice the onion. Cut off and discard the root end of the lettuce; separate the leaves. Very thinly slice the radishes into rounds. Peel and mince the garlic. Using the flat side of your knife, smash 1 of the minced garlic cloves until it resembles a paste; place in a bowl with the juice of all 4 lemon wedges.

Cook the pasta:
2 Cook the pasta:

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, thoroughly drain the cooked pasta. Set aside in a warm place.

Cook & drain the spinach:
3 Cook & drain the spinach:

While the pasta cooks, in a large pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the spinach; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer to a strainer; hold or rest the strainer over a bowl. Using a spoon, press down on the cooked spinach to release as much liquid as possible; discard the liquid. Transfer the drained spinach to a cutting board and finely chop. Wipe out the pot.

Make the sauce:
4 Make the sauce:

While the pasta continues to cook, in the pot used to cook the spinach, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the minced garlic and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 14 to 16 minutes, or until slightly reduced in volume. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble & bake the pasta:
5 Assemble & bake the pasta:

Add the cooked pasta, chopped spinach, butter and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the pot of sauce; stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. (If the sauce seems too thick, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Transfer to a baking dish. Evenly top with the mozzarella cheese (tearing into bite-sized pieces before adding) and ¾ of the Parmesan cheese; season with salt and pepper. Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes before serving.

Make the salad & serve your dish:
6 Make the salad & serve your dish:

While the pasta bakes, to make the vinaigrette, add the remaining Parmesan cheese to the garlic paste-lemon juice mixture; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined. Just before serving, in a large bowl, combine the lettuce and radishes; season with salt and pepper. Add enough of the vinaigrette to coat the salad (you may have extra vinaigrette). Toss to mix and transfer to a serving dish. Serve the baked pasta with the salad on the side. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare the ingredients:

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Place the tomatoes in a bowl; gently break apart with your hands. Peel and small dice the onion. Cut off and discard the root end of the lettuce; separate the leaves. Very thinly slice the radishes into rounds. Peel and mince the garlic. Using the flat side of your knife, smash 1 of the minced garlic cloves until it resembles a paste; place in a bowl with the juice of all 4 lemon wedges.

2 Cook the pasta:

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, thoroughly drain the cooked pasta. Set aside in a warm place.

Cook the pasta:
Cook & drain the spinach:
3 Cook & drain the spinach:

While the pasta cooks, in a large pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the spinach; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer to a strainer; hold or rest the strainer over a bowl. Using a spoon, press down on the cooked spinach to release as much liquid as possible; discard the liquid. Transfer the drained spinach to a cutting board and finely chop. Wipe out the pot.

4 Make the sauce:

While the pasta continues to cook, in the pot used to cook the spinach, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the minced garlic and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 14 to 16 minutes, or until slightly reduced in volume. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the sauce:
Assemble & bake the pasta:
5 Assemble & bake the pasta:

Add the cooked pasta, chopped spinach, butter and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the pot of sauce; stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. (If the sauce seems too thick, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Transfer to a baking dish. Evenly top with the mozzarella cheese (tearing into bite-sized pieces before adding) and ¾ of the Parmesan cheese; season with salt and pepper. Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes before serving.

6 Make the salad & serve your dish:

While the pasta bakes, to make the vinaigrette, add the remaining Parmesan cheese to the garlic paste-lemon juice mixture; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined. Just before serving, in a large bowl, combine the lettuce and radishes; season with salt and pepper. Add enough of the vinaigrette to coat the salad (you may have extra vinaigrette). Toss to mix and transfer to a serving dish. Serve the baked pasta with the salad on the side. Enjoy!

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