This easy baked pasta recipe combines a creamy, Parmesan-garlic sauce with pasta and lightly sautéed greens to create a satisfying meatless meal. We like to use escarole in this dish, but kale, mustard greens and Swiss chard can work as well. Be sure to check our recipe notes for recommendations.Print
Creamy Parmesan Baked Pasta and Greens
Made with rotini, sautéed greens and a creamy Parmesan-garlic sauce, this easy baked pasta casserole makes satisfying meatless meal.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Main Dishes
- Cuisine: Italian
- 10 ounces pasta (rotini, penne, ziti)
- 2 medium heads escarole or other greens, roughly chopped (12 to 14 cups – see notes)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup finely shredded mozzarella
- Cook and drain the pasta according to package directions and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and coat a 9-inch square casserole dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, deep pan over medium-high heat. Add the escarole a handful at a time and toss with tongs until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes total. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Return the pan to the stove and heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the butter and stir until melted. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, combine well and continue cooking, stirring constantly, 2 minutes longer.
- Slowly stir in the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits that may have accumulated on the bottom of the pan.
- Add the milk, increase the heat to medium-high and continue stirring until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese, stir until melted, then add the parsley.
- Add the escarole and pasta, combine well and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Scatter the mozzarella over the pasta and bake, uncovered until the cheese is golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Escarole is our go-to ingredient for this dish because of it’s tender, lettuce-like texture. From a flavor standpoint, kale, mustard greens and Swiss chard are good choices too, but they’ll generally require more cooking time than the escarole.
If you decide to use one of the other greens, be sure to remove any tough stems and adjust the sauté time to ensure that they’re tender before mixing them with the pasta and sauce.
Because the dish only bakes for 15 to 20 minutes, the greens need to be fully cooked going in.