This creamy baked pesto pasta is a delicious and easy recipe that’s great on a busy weeknight! It’s simple to make, but definitely not lacking in flavor. And it makes an excellent meal that even the kids will love!
It’s an excellent way to sneak in some veggies without sacrificing in flavor!
Pesto Pasta Bake
Putting a spin on a traditional Southern Italian dinner this Pesto Pasta Bake is a quick and easy dinner any night of the week.
Pasta al forno “from the stove” has been a staple in Italian cooking for many generations and mixing it up with pesto sauce instead of the traditional red sauce is a great way to change up this classic dish.
This creamy and comfort food-worthy recipe with pesto is sure to be a hit with your family. It comes together easily and is full of delicious herb & cheese flavors.
And its a great way to sneak in some extra nutrition too! This dish uses basil pesto – an Italian sauce involving fresh basil, makes a great addition to a simple dish of pasta.
But paired with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses gives this recipe a perfect creaminess.
This recipe get’s it delicious flavor from the pesto sauce. It uses a jarred sauce, but you could substitute it for your favorite homemade version.
Here’s what you’ll need for this baked pasta dish:
- 9.6-ounce jar of pesto sauce
- penne pasta – but any of your favorite noodles will work well
- ricotta cheese
- fresh spinach
- mozzarella cheese
- olive oil or butter to grease the casserole dish
If you’re looking for a homemade pesto sauce, try this delicious version here.
And if you’d like a little more garlic flavor, try my homemade garlic scape pesto.
This recipe is quick and easy for a weeknight meal with very minimal prep time!
Begin by cooking your pasta in a large pot with salted water. Drain and add to a large bowl.
Then you’ll stir in the ricotta cheese with the pasta and pesto sauce.
Transfer the pasta, ricotta, and pesto mixture to a casserole dish. Top with chopped spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese.
Add the pan to the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Serve with additional salt & pepper, or sprinkle with fresh shredded parmesan cheese.
How to store and reheat leftovers:
To store leftovers, add to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to one week. To reheat, add to a baking dish and heat up in a preheated 375 degrees f until warmed through.
This recipe is excellent on it’s own and you could even add cooked chicken if desired. We also like the addition of fresh shredded or grated parmesan cheese.
Fresh cherry tomatoes also make an excellent garnish.
Find a new favorite pasta recipe:
FAQ (frequently asked questions)
Yes, you sure can! Adding chicken to the pesto pasta bake would work well. Make sure to cook your chicken first and then add in when you mix the pasta with the pesto and cheese. Then continue the recipe as instructed.
Yes, you could. You could swap the ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese with a vegan option. Since this would significantly reduce the fats, I would suggest adding more pesto or oil.
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Pesto Pasta Bake
- Cook and drain the pasta in salted water. Lightly grease a 9×13 casserole dish with butter or olive oil and preheat the oven to 375F.
- Place cooked pasta in a large bowl and mix well with pesto and ricotta.
- Transfer to casserole dish and top with spinach and then mozzarella cheese.
- Bake at 375° F for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Allow to cool for 10 minutes prior to serving.
- Serve with additional salt & pepper if desired, or top with fresh shredded or grated parmesan cheese. For a little mild heat, sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes.