This dish is essentially a baked ziti recipe with my own twists and turns. I got the idea for this dish from BevCooks. Jerry and I have this habit of grading food (each others, our own dishes, and whenever we go out to eat) using the conventional A-F grading scale. An A is seldom given out and an A+ is almost unheard of (this way we preserve the sanctity of an A). That said, my husband gave this dish an A+…yes, an A+. I don’t think I’ve ever earned an A+ on a dish. My dishes, as good as they may be at times, range from a solid B/B+ to an A-. No kidding! I finally earned my keep with this A+. I thought it was a delicious dish, but in my opinion it was a solid A sans +. So here’s the recipe for this easy, fantastic, unpolarized, Italian dish.
2 packages baby bella mushrooms (small ones halved, large ones quartered)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans artichoke hearts, thoroughly drained (whole, halved, or quartered-whatever your preference, but the halved and quartered ones drain a lot better than the wholes ones)
1 pound Rigatoni pasta, cooked (you can also use Rotini or Ziti)
4-5 cups baby spinach (I used an entire container)
3/4 cup Ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (some more for sprinkling on top)
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1-1.5 cups tomato sauce (I used my homemade tomato sauce, you can use any tomato sauce you like or just dice up a container of cherry tomatoes)
Crushed red pepper to taste
Salt & Pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Half the small baby Portabella mushrooms and quarter the large ones. Saute them until they shrink significantly and release a lot of water. Add a little bit of salt and pepper to speed up the process. Leave the lid open to allow the water to evaporate.This step alone will make your entire house smell glorious.
2. Add in your chopped onion. Saute the onion and mushrooms alone over medium heat for several minutes. When the onion is pretty translucent add in your artichoke hearts. Allow for all the contents to saute for several minutes longer keeping the lid off and then turn if off and let stand.
3. Cook the Rigatoni, drain, and let cool (I add a drizzle of olive oil into my pasta while it’s still boiling, this keeps the pasta from sticking together after it is drained). In a large pot combine the pasta, spinach, mushroom, onion, artichoke, Mozzarella cheese, Ricotta cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
4. Add in your tomato sauce, and some crushed red pepper to spice up the dish.
5. Transfer the pasta into a baking pan. Cover the top with a thin layer of Parmesan cheese and then some bread crumbs to give it an additional crunchiness.
6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees.