- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 8 ounces 90% lean ground beef (may use ground turkey)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (24-ounce) jar tomato or marinara, sauce
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped (optional)
- 1 pound penne pasta, uncooked
- 10 ounces frozen loose-leaf or chopped spinach, thawed, drained
- 8 ounces part skim ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Black pepper, to taste
1. Heat a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil and the beef and cook just until browned. Add garlic and cook another minute.
2. Add the tomato or marinara sauce and 1 tablespoon of the parsley, if using. Stir, cover, and let simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
3. While the sauce simmers, preheat the oven to 350°F.
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente (firm to the bite), about 8 minutes. Drain pasta, (but do not rinse), and return to the large pot.
5. Pour the meat-tomato sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with half of the grated parmesan. Add spinach and stir to combine. Add ricotta cheese and gently stir into the pasta.
6. Transfer the pasta mixture to a 9 x 13 (or 3-quart) lightly oiled baking dish. Top with the remaining Parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper to taste.
7. Cover and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Garnish with parsley, if using.
To lower sodium, make your own tomato sauce using canned tomato puree and seasoning it yourself with herbs, ground pepper, and a pinch of salt.
Serving Size:1 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 475Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 749mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 34gSugar: 7gProtein: 27g
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