Is it a pasta or is it a cake?? I'm not entirely sure but either way this Three Cheese Pesto Pasta Bake is fantastic!
We're kicking things off this week with a Three Cheese Pesto Pasta Bake that is nothing less than decadent. It's part pesto/ricotta mixture, part spinach/sausage mixture and part white wine roux cheese sauce that brings everything together. Is it low calorie - absolutely not. Is it comfort food in a bowl - absolutely. Should you make this next time there's a slight chill in the air and you need something that's comforting and doubles as excellent leftovers - YES YOU SHOULD.
Good news for anyone out there that's vegetarian - you can EASILY omit the sausage portion of this and make it 100% vegetarian with very little effort! You're welcome, I've thought of everything! Carbs, Cheese, Optional Meat. Just here to make everyones fall a little bit more delish. Need some more baked pasta dishes... got you covered!
Our Fav Baked Pasta Dishes :
- Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese
- Cheesy Taco Pasta
- Baked Gnocchi
- Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake
- Penne with 5 (or 6) Cheeses
- Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
- Mushroom Lasagna
- Chicken Parm Gnocchi Bake
- Bolognese Stuffed Shells
- Spicy Mexican Mac and Cheese
Three Cheese Pesto Pasta Bake with Sausage
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 ½ cups whole milk
- pinch of nutmeg and cayenne pepper
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- 1 ½ cups grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 16 ounces extra large rigatoni
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces spicy Italian sausage
- ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 6 cups spinach
- ½ cup basil pesto
- 1 cup fresh ricotta
- fresh basil and more parmesan to garnish
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9in springform pan with cooking spray and dust lightly with a handful of grated parmesan cheese and set aside
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, once bubbling add in the flour and whisk continuously for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Add in the white wine followed by the milk, and cook for until thick, about 15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Remove from heat and stir in the egg, fontina and 1 cup parmesan. Place over super low heat to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add olive oil and crumble in the sausage cooking until browned 5-6 minutes, remove sausage to a bowl and toss in the spinach stirring just to wilt, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Combine with the cooked sausage and crushed red pepper and set aside.
- Stir ricotta and pesto together, set aside.
- Combine the cooked pasta and the cheese sauce, layer ⅓ of it into the prepared pan followed by ⅓ of the ricotta mixture and ⅓ of the spinach and sausage mixture. Repeat so you have three layers ending with sausage and spinach. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake in the oven till golden brown 35-40 min. Remove and let sit for about 30 mins. Remove the side from the springform pan sprinkle with torn basil and more parmesan.