Baked Three Cheese Lemon Pepper Pasta

I have a new love in my life. You might know him.

He goes by the name Lemon Pepper.

Not the fake imposter. The one premixed in a plastic shaker at the market.

I’m talking the real deal. As in fresh lemon meet my pepper mill.

With lemon that lingers in every bite and its zest adding an underlying sweetness, the sharp bite of fresh cracked black peppercorns offers a much needed savory balance. The pungent flavor livens everything up and helps to marry the flavors including those of the three cheeses.

It’s a veritable cheese lover’s hug on a plate with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. The holy trinity of Italian American cheese. All of which my household is never without. Each and every time I use it, more appears, magically, in its place.

Yep, I have cheese elves. I kid you not.

And did I mention there’s spinach? Fresh spinach and thyme.

Because they love lemon pepper too.

Baked Three Cheese Lemon Pepper Pasta

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Baked Three Cheese Lemon Pepper Pasta

A veritable cheese lover's hug on a plate with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese wrapped around pasta and fresh spinach!

INGREDIENTS:

10 ounces rotini or penne pasta (like Barila whole grain)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
15 ounces Ricotta cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 + 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving
3 cups fresh Spinach leaves
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, basil or parsley

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile saute garlic on low heat in a small skillet until fragrant. Remove from heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Butter an 8×8 deep-sided casserole dish.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine ricotta well with egg, milk, baking soda, 2 cups of mozzarella and Parmesan. Stir in spinach, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, thyme and sauteed garlic. Stir in pasta. Pour into casserole dish, sprinkle top with remaining mozzarella.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes until bubbly and hot in the middle. Allow to set five minutes before serving. Serve with plenty of fresh cracked pepper over top and Parmesan cheese.
http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/baked-three-cheese-lemon-pepper-pasta/

Comments

  1. theUngourmet says

    This looks completely delicious! Hey I notice there is baking soda in the recipe. I’ve never seen it called for in a pasta dish. What does it do? Can it be left out? Just curious.

    • Reeni says

      The baking soda is just preventive to stop the lemon juice from curdling the milk. I don’t know if it can be left out – the ricotta is already ‘curdled’ but I worry about the milk. Maybe if you left out the milk too… Hope you had a happy 4th Kim!

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