Two Peas and Their Pod

Baked Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta


I love me some stuffed shells, but sometimes I don’t like to take the time to stuff the shells. I know it isn’t that hard, but I am allowed to have lazy days. I love giving myself permission to be lazy. The joys of being an adult.

Well, last week I was feeling very lazy. It was 4:00 p.m. and I was still in my pajamas. I was tempted to bag the whole dinner idea, but I was craving cheesy stuffed shells. Instead of making stuffed shells, I made Baked Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta. All of the same goodness as stuffed shells, but in baked pasta form.


And because I was feeling lazy, I made sure I got Josh in on the action. He whipped up the spinach ricotta filling while I made my favorite Easy Marinara Sauce. You can use whatever sauce you want, but I promise my marinara sauce is super simple. And not to toot my own horn, but it’s pretty darn tasty. Store bought sauce doesn’t stand a chance against my sauce. Give it a go!


I used mini shells for the pasta because they are cute and I was craving shells. See, this recipe is just like stuffed shells, but instead of stuffing the shells, the shells get smothered with ricotta, spinach, and marinara sauce. Oh, yeah! Bring on the smothering action!


Pasta, spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, and marinara all in one dish, talk about delish! Look at all of that cheese! Mmmm!

If you are looking for an easy dinner idea, add Baked Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta to your menu. And good news, you can prepare this dish in advance. Get everything in the pan and pop it in the oven when you are ready to eat. It also freezes well after baking. I put individual portions in freezer containers for easy lunches! I told you this is a great lazy day recipe! Enjoy!


Baked Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta

Yield: Serves 8

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Easy baked pasta with spinach, ricotta, parmesan, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese-a great weeknight meal!


12 ounces pasta (we used mini shells)
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 clove garlic, minced
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and black pepper, to taste
4 cups marinara sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. Cook the pasta according to instructions for al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, and egg. Stir until smooth. Add the garlic, spinach, nutmeg, dried basil, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper.

3. Put half of the pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with half of the marinara sauce. Spoon the spinach ricotta mixture on top of the sauce in an even layer. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over the mixture. Cover with the remaining pasta and the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

6. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted and the edges are lightly browned. Serve warm.

Note-you can prepare this dish one day ahead of time. Cover the pan with foil and place in the fridge until you are ready to cook. You can also freeze the leftovers. Place cooked pasta in freezer containers and freeze!

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with the Dairy Council of Utah, but all of our opinions are our own. “For more dairy & nutrition information visit: and to get to know more about your local dairy farmers visit” 

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100 Responses to “Baked Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta”

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  1. Anne ~ Uni Homemaker — April 5, 2013 @ 3:50 am

    I love the idea of lazy day recipe! This pasta dish looks delicious and so cheesy! Lovely post.

  2. Emma — April 5, 2013 @ 4:28 am

    Oh Maria, this looks incredible! Can not wait to try it and we are having the perfect weather for this here in Australia at the moment. Thanks for sharing another winning dish xo

  3. Kristen — April 5, 2013 @ 4:58 am

    I always love baked pasta, an excuse to load up on cheese! LOL

  4. Erica — April 5, 2013 @ 6:32 am

    SO bookmarked. Great easier version of stuffed shells!!

  5. Emily @ Life on Food — April 5, 2013 @ 6:33 am

    This is quite the comfort food. Now if only my husband would like ricotta.

  6. Yum! Your baked pasta looks so yummy!! Love spinach and ricotta together!

  7. Becki's Whole Life — April 5, 2013 @ 7:27 am

    Sometimes the meals we make when we feel a little bit lazy turn out to be the best. I agree, stuffing shells can be cumbersome, but these look fantastic. A nice springtime meatless meal.

  8. Sylvia — April 5, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    Love the idea with marinara sauce!! I make something similar – mini shells, ricotta, bechamel, and fresh spinach. I like to add a pine nut and parm topping. So quick and easy

  9. Laurie {SimplyScratch} — April 5, 2013 @ 8:50 am

    I love this pasta bake! So easy and I love that it can be made in advance!

  10. Julie @ Table for Two — April 5, 2013 @ 9:11 am

    This looks like the most comforting of all pasta casserole dishes! I love it!

  11. I love one-dish meals, and this one looks so tasty! This is one that I know for sure the kids will like. Definitely adding to my list of recipes to try!

  12. Tieghan — April 5, 2013 @ 9:16 am

    LOVE THIS!! Yum! Baked pasted is the best and spinach is my favorite!

  13. Sommer@ASpicyPerspective — April 5, 2013 @ 9:18 am

    What a great way to sneak n some veggies! :)

  14. Jenny Flake — April 5, 2013 @ 9:20 am

    Perfect dinner idea!!

  15. Heather Christo — April 5, 2013 @ 9:30 am

    This is awesome Maria! perfect weeknight meal for my family!!

  16. This looks absolutely delicious!

  17. Heather || Heather's Dish — April 5, 2013 @ 9:43 am

    I love how beautiful and yummy this looks!

  18. Looks delicious and perfect for weeknights! Definitely trying this sometime soon!

  19. Angie @ Big Bear's Wife — April 5, 2013 @ 10:04 am

    mmm love the colors in this pasta dish! The photos are great too!

  20. Ali | Gimme Some Oven — April 5, 2013 @ 10:04 am

    This sounds wonderful. Love all of that spinach!

  21. Heidi @foodiecrush — April 5, 2013 @ 10:13 am

    The only question I have is where is mine? And as always, glad to see you put Josh to work.

  22. Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — April 5, 2013 @ 11:05 am

    I definitely had those lazy days! I’m pretty sure that when I was off for maternity leave I wore pj’s every single day! NO LIE! Love this pasta.

  23. Dana — April 5, 2013 @ 11:10 am

    Your photos are always stunning! I love this entire combo–looks delish!

  24. Marian (Sweetopia) — April 5, 2013 @ 11:11 am

    Ahhh, I would realllly love a piece of that right now! Looks amazing, Maria!

  25. Kevin @ Closet Cooking — April 5, 2013 @ 11:17 am

    What a quick, easy and tasty pasta!

  26. Aimee @ Simple Bites — April 5, 2013 @ 11:18 am

    Mmm, perfect comfort food! So glad I have fresh made ricotta around. =)

  27. marla — April 5, 2013 @ 11:33 am

    A perfect pasta bake for lunch or dinner!

  28. Brianna — April 5, 2013 @ 11:40 am

    Love casseroles for weeknight meals!

  29. This looks so good!! I need to have lunch now or I’ll keep drooling over your photos!

  30. Cookin' Canuck — April 5, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

    Great idea to just toss the shells in with the other ingredients instead of spending the time to fill them. This is the perfect comfort food for a rainy spring day.

  31. I absolutely adore baked pasta, this looks amazing! Love the ricotta and spinach!

  32. Mimi @ Culinary Couture — April 5, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

    I love me some stuffed shells too! This dish is great for when I’m not in the mood for stuffing!

  33. Diana @ Eating Made Easy — April 5, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

    I hate stuffing the shells too! This is much easies and just as good I’m sure. I gotta try your homemade marinara too.

  34. Gloria @ Simply Gloria — April 5, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

    I love this idea so much more than stuffing the big shells! Pinning!

  35. Shawn @ I Wash You Dry — April 5, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

    Looks completely delicious! I love a lazy dinner that looks like you spent forever in the kitchen. SOLD!

  36. Joanne — April 5, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

    I almost always feel too lazy to make a multi-step dinner so this easy baked pasta sounds good to me!

  37. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — April 5, 2013 @ 9:05 pm

    I love this cheater stuffed shells! Great idea :)

  38. The Glitter Life — April 5, 2013 @ 9:15 pm

    Hi hi hi! We featured your recipe for Edmame Guacamole on our Friday Five today! AWESOME recipe – our readers loved it!

  39. Ladyshrimp — April 5, 2013 @ 10:01 pm

    I made that tonight and it was absolutely AMAZING! I used fresh spinach instead of frozen and 90 grams of sharp cheddar in place of the 2 cups of mozzarella it called for and made my own marinara. It was so good my bf went for seconds. I refrained though… Thanks for that recipe! 😉

  40. Wish this was my dinner right now! I’m bagging the whole dinner idea tonight! LOL

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