Italian Pasta Gratin

    PREP: 30 minutes BAKE: 30 minutes STAND: 5 minutes OVEN: 375ºF MAKES 8 servings

    • 8 ounces dried multigrain or whole wheat penne pasta
    • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
    • 2 cups fresh cremini mushrooms, quartered
    • 1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped oil-packed dried tomatoes*
    • 1⁄4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
    • 1⁄2 cup basil pesto
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks or thinly sliced
    • 1⁄2 cup shredded fresh basil (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease four 12-ounce individual casseroles or one 11⁄2 -quart au gratin dish; set aside. In a 4-quart Dutch oven cook pasta in boiling, lightly salted water according to package directions, adding spinach and mushrooms during the last 1 minute of cooking; drain.
    2. Transfer pasta mixture to an extra-large bowl. Stir in dried tomatoes and olives. Add pesto and vinegar; toss gently to coat. Transfer mixture to the prepared casseroles or au gratin dish.
    3. Bake, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. Top with cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with basil. If using individual casseroles, each dish will serve two.
    4. PER SERVING: 324 cal., 18 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 25 mg chol., 438 mg sodium, 27 g carb., 3 g fiber, 15 g pro.


    If the dried tomatoes are very firm, add them to some of the hot pasta cooking water and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain well, then add to the pasta mixture as directed.