I use whole wheat shells here, but feel free to experiment with other short pasta. If you are in a pinch for time forget the baking all together and just toss the cooked pasta with the spinach skillet, and sprinkle with the mozzarella before serving.
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 pound whole wheat pasta shells
- sea salt
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 cups well-chopped fresh spinach
- 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- zest of 2 lemons
- 8 ounces mozzerella, shredded or torn into small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter/oil a large casserole dish or baking pan – something roughly equivalent to 13×9-inch pan.
- Boil the pasta in salted water per package instructions. Drain pasta, toss with a glug of olive oil. Set aside.
- In the meantime, heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Saute the onions with a couple pinches of salt for a few minutes (or if you want a bit more depth of flavor until caramelized). Stir in garlic. Stir in spinach. Cook for just about 20 seconds, until the spinach collapses a bit. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the almonds and 1/2 of the zest. Add to pasta and stir and stir – mixing extremely well, a minute or so.
- Now sprinkle the bottom of baking dish with the rest of the zest. Add a layer of the pasta to the bottom of the baking pan, now sprinkle with some of the cheese, add more pasta, then more cheese. Finish with a layer of cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese on top is bubbly and melty. Serve sprinkled with the remaining almonds.