Spinach Pesto Pasta Bake

Lately I have been trying to be more health conscious. To be honest I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. However there are times I just don’t want to force myself to eat a spinach salad with dinner. That’s where spinach pesto comes in.

You add one part spinach to three parts basil to your pesto and you would never know it’s there. Consider this an ultimate weapon against extra picky eaters. Toss it with mozzarella pearls for a huge cheesy hit, sundried tomatoes, and grilled chicken and you’ll have a meal no one can resist. In all honesty I could eat like this everyday.

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 3 cups fresh basil
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or cashews
  • 3/4 cup parmesan
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 2 packages mozzarella pearls for salads
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4-1/2 cup+1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

In a good processer combine the basil, spinach, garlic, nuts, parmesan, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil until a pesto forms. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a grill pan. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken and grill until deep brown marks form, about five to seven minutes per side. Move the chicken to a sheet tray and finish in the oven, about 10 minutes. While the chicken finishes in the oven boil your pasta according to package directions minus two minutes. The pasta will finish cooking in the oven so you want to be a little shy on your boiling.

Once the chicken and pasta are cooked combine them with the cream, pesto, sundried tomatoes, and 2/3 of the mozzarella balls and mix well. Dump the mixture into an 8×8″ baking dish and top with the remaining mozzarella. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is browned and the cheese is gooey.

One thought on “Spinach Pesto Pasta Bake

  1. I will be making this very soon!! With the cold weather setting in, this will be comfort food at its finest with the added benefit of spinach.

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