Cheesy Spinach Casserole

  • 16 oz. dried penne pasta
  • 8 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves, divided
  • 1 c. lowfat sour cream
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. shredded cheese — choose your favorite variety or combination
  • 1/2 sleeve butter crackers, such as Ritz
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 button mushrooms, finely minced (optional)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

While the pasta cooks, arrange half of the spinach in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Place the remainder of the spinach in a blender and add the sour cream, parmesan cheese, garlic, shallots, salt, and pepper. Blend the mixture until a thick sauce forms. If you cannot get the sauce to pull together, add a little cream, milk, or water to the blender until the mixture blends.

Toss the cooked, drained pasta with the sauce and arrange it over the fresh spinach leaves in the baking pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the pasta.

Crush the butter crackers and toss with the melted butter and minced mushroom. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top of the shredded cheese. Place the baking pan in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted and the crumbs on the top are slightly golden.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes
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