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BackstoryThis baked pasta and cheese makes a delicious and special side dish. Serve this tasty pasta dish with grilled or baked chicken or pork chops.
- 8 ounces pasta (twists, mini penne, etc.)
- 8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups low fat milk
- 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup soft bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish or spray with cooking spray.
- Cook pasta following package directions; drain and rinse with hot water.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat.
- Stir in flour until smooth and bubbly. Add the milk and continue cooking, stirring, until thickened. Add the basil and the salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the spinach leaves until wilted; stir in the hot drained pasta. Stir in the mozzarella cheese until well blended. Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- In a bowl, toss bread crumbs with the melted butter; sprinkle over the pasta mixture. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until nicely browned and hot.
- Serves 6.