As a busy mama, I have come to really appreciate a quick, one-pot meal. Less pots = less clean up and more time with my family and these days, that is worth everything. This One Pot Pasta with Tomato, Spinach, and Mozzarella fits right into my crazy schedule and is gobbled up by my hungry husband and toddler alike. Filled with healthy ingredients available at any grocery store (in other words, I can grab everything in 10 minutes on my way home from work!), this pasta dish is hearty, healthy, and on your table in under 3o minutes. The recipe is based off of a recent feature in Cooking Light Magazine, one of my go to sources for fast and fresh dinners. I’ve adapted the dish to suit my family’s tastes and I hope you love it. It is most definitely becoming a family favorite!
The dish starts with a base of ground beef, sautéed in garlic olive oil with onion and spices. It is layered with a simple tomato sauce, made from canned tomatoes (either sauce or crushed) seasoned with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. A splash of chicken stock and some and whole grain penne pasta cook together for about 15 minutes. Adding a hearty dose of spinach and some melted mozzarella cheese at the end really takes this pasta dish over the top. If you’re not a fan of spinach, you could definitely use some arugula (I’d decrease the amount so as not to overpower the sauce with the peppery green) or try it with kale. While I like the traditional Italian mix of ground beef and the tomato sauce, you can also easily substitute ground turkey if you don’t eat red meat or are looking for an even lighter option.
The pasta is best served hot right when it’s made, but we definitely enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day. If you like to freeze dishes, I would undercook the pasta a bit and add in the mozzarella after thawing and reheating.
- 1 tablespoon garlic olive oil (alternatively, add one clove chopped garlic to your beef mixture)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1¼ cups chicken stock
- 1 can (14 ounces) tomato sauce (try fire roasted if you like some heat!) or crushed tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes, depending on taste
- 8 ounces uncooked whole grain pasta
- 5 ounces (about one package) fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- In a large ovenproof skillet or pan, heat your olive oil on medium-high.
- Add the chopped onion (and garlic, if using) and sauté 2-3 minutes.
- Add the beef, oregano, and Italian seasoning and cook 3-5 minutes, until the beef is crumbled.
- In the same pot, combine your stock, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Cover, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until your pasta is done (do not over cook!).
- Stir in the spinach until just wilted.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, until the cheese is just melted.
- Serve and enjoy!