Creamy Cheesy Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake! Say that 10 times fast and then go get a bowl so you can serve up a big spoonful of this incredible pasta bake!
Imagine a pasta bake that is part chicken parmesan, part spinach dip, part funky pasta shape and topped with all the cheese. Welp, that’s essentially what this Creamy Cheesy Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake is and I AM OBSESSED.
It comes together quite quickly and it takes a shortcut from the store by using frozen spinach! That way you can eliminate the extra step of having to wilt down pounds and pounds of fresh spinach! You’re welcome in advance. It’s great to make for a quick weeknight meal, or prep on the weekend and bake off during the week. Either way you slice it, you’ll be obsessed.
Creamy Cheesy Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground chicken
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
- 1 28- ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 pound short pasta
- 2 boxes frozen spinach (10 oz each) defrosted, squeezed dry, and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 10 sprigs of fresh basil torn into pieces
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup coarsely grated mozzarella
- Preheat your oven to 400°F .
- Heat a large heavy dutch over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil. Add the ground chicken to the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon and stirring every now and then, until the meat is cooked through and browned, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer, and cook the sauce for about 20 minutes until slightly reduced. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, add it to the pot with the tomato sauce, and stir well to combine.
- While the pasta is cooking, put the spinach, heavy cream, Parmesan, half of the mozzarella, and the basil leaves into a large bowl. Season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and stir well to combine.
- Spoon one-third of the sauced pasta into a 9-by-13-in baking dish and spread into an even layer. Dot the pasta with half of the spinach mixture. Continue with half of the remaining pasta, all of the remaining spinach mixture, and then the final layer of pasta. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top.
- Bake the pasta, uncovered, until it golden browned and the edges are bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let it rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson // Recipe adapted from Now & Again by Julia Turshen
Going to make this and freeze it in smaller dishes, so I can enjoy this several times over the next couple weeks!
Could you use fresh spinach in this ? if so, what adjustments, if any, would need to be made? Thank you!
yes!! I’d use 3 lbs of fresh spinach and then drain it REALLY well
Could you substitute the heavy cream with something else?
Can we use pasta sauce instead of the crushed tomatoes?
How many servings does this make!? I want to make it for my family one night.
Delicious, super easy and a crowd pleaser! Made it exactly as called for except used milk instead of cream as that is what I had on hand!
I picked this recipe because it looked quick, easy and simple! It was certainly quick, easy, and simple, I felt the flavor was a little lacking. This may be in part due to my own tendency to under-season with salt but I just wished it had more “oomph”. I think next time I’d add extra garlic, throw in some red pepper flakes and appropriately salt. 🙂
This is an great way to cook once and eat for a week. It served 4 with nearly half of pan left!