Frugal Recipe: Baked Cheesy Penne & Spinach

By Marissa Bognanno, Author of "The Boot" Blog, Professional Chef, & Zumba Instructor

Remember when I told you about Saturday night and our dance party which led Manu and I to eat croissants at 3 a.m.? Well, I finally tracked down the so-bad-it’s-awesome music we were blasting and singing along to with our friends and it’s so Euro and amazing you simply have to stop what you’re doing this instant, stand in the middle of the room and dance to it. Go. I’ll wait.

I made this deliciously creamy, satisfying (and healthy!) baked penne while listening to said discoteca beats. You should do that, too. Because if it’s baked, and there’s cheese involved, I know you’ll like it. (The discoteca songs, on the other hand, maybe not so much.)

Baked Cheesy Penne and Spinach

1/4 pound penne
frozen spinach (I used half a bag)
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/3 cup grated cheese (I used feta and grated Parmigiano)

Boil the pasta in plenty of salted water and about halfway through, add the frozen spinach. Cook until the pasta is not quite done, and strain. Make the Beschamel sauce: heat butter until melted and add flour. Whisk in the milk and lower the heat, whisking until it becomes thick, about 5 minutes. Add in the grated cheese of your choice. Mix with the drained pasta and spinach and pour into a baking dish . Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake at 350 until bubbly and crisp. Serve immediately. 

Just another delicious and  nutritious recipe experiment from my tiny Barletta test kitchen! Buon appetito! :) 

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