This versatile pasta dish makes for a quick, vegetarian weeknight meal. Creamy, cheesy satisfaction mixed with hearty healthy mushrooms and spinach.
It’s a great make-ahead lunch or dinner. You can prepare the casserole, keep it in the fridge for a day or two then bake it when needed. The sauce is just a basic creamy white cheese sauce which you can season with your preferences – thyme, garlic, onion, rosemary, tarragon, etc. And you can make it lower calorie or super rich by varying the milk/cream and types of cheeses you use. I made this for Jenna last week when she was visiting with my new grandson (yay!). She’s a huge fan of mushrooms and cheese. She loved it.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Add other vegetables e.g. roast peppers (or saute them with the onions and mushrooms). You can also add tomato slices on top before baking. Or change the vegetables. Instead spinach, for example, use cooked broccoli or cauliflower.
- Use whatever herbs you like best. I used thyme. Rosemary, fresh basil or tarragon would work well too.
- You can use frozen spinach instead of fresh. Just make sure you squeeze out all the water before adding it to the pasta mixture.
- Use any combination and fat content of milk and cream. I use 2% milk with a bit of half and half cream for extra richness.
- Use any combination of cheese you like e.g. Gruyere, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan.
- Use any small pasta e.g. baby penne, small shells.
- Buy pre-shredded cheeses and sliced mushrooms.
Make Ahead Cheesy Mushroom Spinach Pasta
Complete the casserole and don’t bake. Cover and place in fridge for up to two days. Bake when needed for about 20-25 minutes or until top is nicely browned.
Cheesy Mushroom Spinach Pasta Bake Recipe
- 2 cups baby bow tie pasta (or other small pasta)
- garnish: 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1 tbsp chopped parsley
Mushroom Spinach Cheese Sauce
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 8 oz, mushrooms, sliced (1/2 pound)
- 1 clove garlic, minced (1 teaspoon minced or 1/8 tsp garlic powder)
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 1/2 cups milk 1/4 cup of this can be half and half cream for richness)
- 1 1/4 cup grated white cheese, divided e.g. Gruyere, Fontina, Emmenthal, Monterey Jack, Provolone)
- 2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach (about 3 cups)
- PREHEAT OVEN: to 4OOF.
- BOIL BOW TIES: Boil bow tie pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- SAUTE MUSHROOMS AND AROMATICS: Heat pan to medium high. Add butter and oil. Add mushrooms and onions. Saute for 5 minutes until translucent and water from mushrooms is evaporated. Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds.
- MAKE SAUCE: Reduce heat to medium. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add milk (and cream if using), thyme, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in 1 cup of cheese and all the spinach. Stir until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Add bow ties and mix to combine. Pour into a 7-8 inch square or round oven proof dish.
- BAKE: Top with remaining 1/4 cup white cheese, Parmesan and parsley. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese browns on top. Alternatively, bake 7 minutes and broil for 3 minutes to brown the top, watching that it doesn't burn.
Other easy cheese-y pasta dishes you might like:
Cheesy Tomato Spinach Olive Pasta get the recipe
Stuffed Cheese Spinach Pasta Shells get the recipe