There’s a lot to love about this unconventional lemony spinach and artichoke baked ziti, which packs comfort into every bite!
Lemony Spinach and Artichoke Baked Ziti

did resolve to eat more green things this year.

Not only because we ate pie for lunch on not one, but two occasions while babymooning in Charlottesville, but also because I’ve had a cold for the past month straight and in my heart of hearts I just know that this is most probably a side effect of kale withdrawal and has nothing to do with the wildly changing temperatures around here combined with the fact that my winter jacket will no longer zip.

Ahem.

Lemony Spinach and Artichoke Baked Ziti

Plus, I LIKE GREEN THINGS AGAIN! And if that’s not an excuse for a spinach and artichoke pasta celebration, I really can’t imagine what is.

As you can see this is not exactly your typical New Year’s fare. It has complex carbs! And cheese! And butter!

And in some circles, it probably comes with a side of shame,

But NOT HERE.

Lemony Spinach and Artichoke Baked Ziti

Here we have kale salads for lunch and big plates of comfort pasta for dinner, and if we just so happen to sneak in a few extra green things along the way…then so be it. The more, the merrier.

Lemony Spinach and Artichoke Baked Ziti
 
There's a lot to love about this unconventional pasta dish, which transforms the flavors of spinach and artichoke dip into a baked ziti to remember!
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 lb frozen artichoke hearts
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup grated Romano cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • black pepper, to taste
For the sauce
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • ½ cup ricotta
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the rigatoni according to package directions, adding the baby spinach to the pot in the last minute of cooking. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, for the filling, melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and cook until it turns amber. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, followed by the onion, and cook until the onion starts to caramelize, about 7 minutes. Add in the artichoke hearts and cook until they are warmed through and softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the wine and simmer until it evaporates.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the artichoke mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add the cheeses, egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper to the food processor bowl and pulse until combined, but still coarse. Set aside.
  4. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour all at once and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the milk, a little bit at a time, until it is all added and has reached a batterlike consistency. Bring to a simmer and let it thicken, whisking constantly. Whisk in the ricotta, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Season to taste with more lemon juice and/or salt.
  5. Heat oven to 350F. To assemble the dish, in a 9x13-inch pan, stir together the artichoke mixture, the pasta and spinach, and the bechamel. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more. Serve sprinkled with fresh basil.
Notes
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅛th of recipe

 

Lemony Spinach and Artichoke Baked Ziti

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30 Responses to Lemony Spinach and Artichoke Baked Ziti

  1. Johanna GGG says:

    yum – looks like great comfort food (and btw I think there are probably other reasons than the pasta that your jacket is no longer zipping up !!!!!)

  2. You know, if ANYONE is going to get me to try and like kale, it’s YOU. Especially with all that cheese and artichoke heart action going on!

  3. Trisha says:

    My favorite way to eat my greens is sandwiched between layers of pasta and cheese….this is perfect for me. 🙂 And I bet your coat won’t zip up because baby girl is growing–that’s nothing to feel bad about!

  4. Looks fantastic and so comforting!! This is just what I need now that the semester has started up again…I’m so glad you’re back! 🙂

  5. Julia says:

    1 I can’t think of a better way to get my fill of spinach than with this baked ziti! 🙂 The lemony artichoke parm sitch you’ve got going on here is driving me bonkers and I could definitely use a heaping plate of comfort food now that it’s a chilly, snowy winter wonderland up in here!

  6. Erica says:

    Yum it looks so comforting and can you ever go wrong with a plate of pasta?! I think not. <3 <3

  7. Sues says:

    I always feel better when I eat greens! Even if they’re mixed into a giant vat of creamy mac and cheese 🙂 Kale makes me so happy and this dish looks amazing!

  8. Katrina says:

    Baked ziti is such a satisfying dinner. I love this lemony version!

  9. A terrific way to eat some greens, for sure! 🙂
    Hope you had a fantastic babymoon!

  10. Such a satisfying and delicious meal!

  11. Delicious idea for baked pasta! Hope you are feeling better…
    Have a great week!
    xoxo Anna and Liz

  12. Delicious idea for baked pasta! Hope you are feeling better…
    Happy new year!
    xoxo Anna and Liz

  13. Pam says:

    Mmmmmm. Cheese, pasta, butter? Way to make me swoon so early in the morning.YUM!

  14. I love your food philosophy, lady! And I am right there with you. I adore all the flavors going on in this meal!

  15. My daughter took one look at this and wants to move in with y’all! She said this is amazing!

  16. Christina says:

    You know, I was attempting to eat less pasta….

  17. Moderation is key! This looks amazing and so warming after a long day- I love traditional baked ziti and this looks like such an incredible twist on the classic. Pinning 🙂

  18. Hotly Spiced says:

    Pasta is such great comfort food. I’ve heard your New York winter is all out of sorts. I have friends who went there for a white Christmas but alas, no snow! You must really be feeling the cold though with a jacket that no longer zips! xx

  19. mjskit says:

    What a fantastic remedy for a cold!!! Hope you’re feeling better. I’m a huge fan of baked ziti and love this version. Pinned for a dinner really soon!

  20. Krista says:

    This sounds so lovely, Joanne. I really like artichokes with lemon, and adding pasta just makes it better. 🙂

  21. Kate says:

    We’ve been in a kale kick here too. Tonight we even had kale in our mashed potatoes.

  22. This looks like some great comfort food! Can’t wait to give it a try!

  23. I think I saw this on you instagram! It looks so tasty, and just perfect and bright for the season. Lush!

  24. Lynn says:

    Thank you for posting comfort food! This looks divine! I might just have to make this.

    (I always dread January, when all the helpful tips appear about eating right in the New Year.) 🙂

  25. I love spinach and artichoke dip, and a pasta version sounds incredible!

  26. You had me at lemon and spinach << my kryptonite! And New Year's diets are for the weak. Lol.

  27. Love your combination of flavors in your pasta dish.

  28. This looks delicious and oh so comforting! I didn’t resolve anything food-wise this New Years, so this would be welcome in my house 🙂

  29. Sarah says:

    I love this flavor combo. Looks so comforting! Yum!

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