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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Florentine

Whenever I find a recipe that I know Aaron won't eat I volunteer to cook dinner at Yaya's house.  I use them as guinea pigs and if dinner turns out well I trick Aaron into trying it by making it for his parents.

This recipe will never fly with him.  He won't eat spinach or diced tomatoes and he definitely won't go for a meal with no meat so he will never ever try this, but I thought it was fabulous!
 The cheese is cut into cubes instead of shredded, leaving big spots of gooey melted cheese randomly throughout.  The tomatoes are really simple, seasoned with just some garlic and oregano and maybe a little salt and pepper.  The spinach was my tiny twist that I added to pack in some iron (since I'm slightly anemic and not all that fond of red meat) and I think it was a smart move.

It seemed to go over well with the family.  Mom said she liked it and Bailey ate like she was starving!  I will be making this again, but I may have to cut the recipe in half and make it as lunch for just Bailey and myself.

Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Florentine

Source: Annie's Eats

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2 cans petite diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb penne pasta
1-2 cups baby spinach
8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
2/3 cup grated Parmesan

In a skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and oregano and stir to combine.  Allow to simmer until it starts to thicken, about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain, and set aside.

Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and stir in the spinach.  Bring to a simmer and cook until it has wilted and mixes in well, about 5 minutes.  I like to remove the stems from my spinach and tear it up a bit but you could put them in whole.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with vegetable oil spray.  Combine the tomatoes and the pasta and pour half of the mixture into the baking dish.  Spread half of the cheese cubes over the pasta mixture and sprinkle half of the Parmesan over it.  Pour the remaining pasta mixture into the baking dish.  Cover with the remaining mozzarella cubes and then the remaining Parmesan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

You could definitely serve this as a side dish.  Some grilled chicken would be a perfect pairing, but I think this worked quite well on its own. I would maybe only add a salad and some garlic toast.

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