Springer's Kitchen

Vegetarian. High-Altitude. Mormon. Food.

Baked Penne


  • 4 cups cooked pasta, penne or ziti
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, ricotta, marinara sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Stir to mix well. Pour into a greased casserole dish, or individual ramekins, and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake for 15 -20 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Best when eaten immediately.

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Orzo Stuffed Bell Peppers


  • 3 14-ounce cans Italian style tomatoes
  • 3 zucchini, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling*
  • 6 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 1/4 cups orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 12 sweet bell peppers (We like orange and yellow, but you could use red or green, too.)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl with the zucchini, mint, cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the orzo and cook for 4 minutes. The orzo should be only partially cooked. Use a fine mesh sieve to transfer the orzo to the large bowl with the other vegetables. Stir the orzo into the vegetable mix to combine. Transfer the warm broth to a 4-quart baking dish (about 10×13 inches).

Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all ribs and seeds. Cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up.

Place the peppers in the baking dish with the warm broth. Spoon the orzo mixture into the peppers. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the top of each pepper with cheese and continue baking until the cheese is golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully transfer the orzo stuffed pepper to a serving plate.

*Sometimes I substitute 1/2 cup of the Parmesan for Mozzarella, because it tastes just as good and costs less.

Adapted from Orzo Stuffed Peppers by Giada de Laurentiis.

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Spinach and Artichoke Baked Pasta


  • 1 10-ounce box frozen spinach
  • Salt
  • 13.25 ounce box whole grain short cut pasta
  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained, patted dry
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 slightly rounded tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Defrost the spinach in the microwave. Drain, then dry the spinach out as much as possible.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add the garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add the artichokes and cook until they are lightly brown. Add the broth to deglaze the pan.

While the artichokes and pasta cook, melt the butter in a  medium pot over medium to medium-high heat. When melted, whisk in the flour for 1 minute or so, then whisk in the milk and season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, adjust the seasonings and stir in the Mozzarella cheese. Combine the sauce with the spinach, pasta, and artichoke and stir until just combined. Transfer the mixture to a 2-quart baking dish and cover with the remaining cheese.  Bake until cheese is melted and starting to brown on top, about 30 minutes.

Or, cool and store for a make-ahead meal.  When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake on a baking sheet 45 minutes or until brown and bubbly on top.


Adapted from Spinach and Artichoke Baked Whole Grain Pasta by Rachel Ray.

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Tyson’s Veggie Lasagne


  • 1 8-ounce stick butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • one head broccoli, chopped
  • one head cauliflower, chopped
  • one pound carrots, sliced
  • bunch of fresh spinach
  • 9 lasagne noodles


Steam vegetables until tender, but not too soft, about 30 minutes in an electric steamer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.

Cook lasagne noodles according to package directions until al dente.

Meanwhile, in large pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Cook garlic in butter until fragrant.  Whisk in flour, then slowly pour in milk.  Continue to cook until hot enough to melt the cheese, then stir in mozzarella, Parmesan, and spices.  Gently stir in steamed vegetables.

Place three lasagne noodles lengthwise in dish, and top with half of vegetable cheese mixture.  Layer three more noodles, and top with other half of mixture.  Top with three more noodles, and sprinkle generously with extra mozzarella and Parmesan.

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Spinach Cheese Manicotti


  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 26-ounce jars spaghetti sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water (if needed; I don’t usually)
  • 1 8-ounce package manicotti shells


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, and egg.  Season with parsley, pepper and garlic powder. Mix in 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan.  In a separate bowl, stir together spaghetti sauce and water.

Spread 1 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Stuff uncooked manicotti shells with ricotta mixture, and arrange in a single layer in the dish.  Cover with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until noodles are soft.

From Spinach Cheese Manicotti from AllRecipes.com.

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Angel Hair with Tomatoes, Basil and Parmesan

This is such a lovely a light summer pasta!


  • 1 13.25-ounce box angel hair pasta
  • 3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese


Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet and saute garlic until golden.  Add tomatoes and season with salt.  Simmer 5-10 minutes.  Add drained pasta to skillet.  Add herbs, and mix well.  Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve.

From Barilla Plus Angel Hair box.

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Shell Pasta with Vegetables


  • 1 13.25-ounce box medium-size shell pasta
  • 1/2 cup canola or olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup small broccoli florets
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon mint
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Cook pasta according to package directions.  When draining pasta, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, carrot, broccoli, and peas.  Season with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup of pasta water (or just warm water), and simmer until vegetables are cooked through.  Stir in the tomatoes.  Toss in pasta with Parmesan and remaining herbs.  Serve warm.

From Barilla Whole Grain Medium shells box.

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Rigatoni with Eggplant & Tomato Pesto

This spicy pasta dish will warm you up on a cold evening!


  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, whole
  • 3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes*
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet.  Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the eggplant is golden, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions.  Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor.  Add the mint and oil.  Puree the vegetables.

Transfer the pureed vegetables to the bowl with the pasta and add the Parmesan.  Stir to combine, adding the pasta cooking liquid 1/2 cup at a time until the pasta is saucy.  Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and serve.

*I prefer 1/2 teaspoon, but Tyson prefers the full teaspoon.

From Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree by Giada De Laurentiis.

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Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

This dish has become a staple in our home.  A delicious way to use asparagus!


  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (about 9 ounces) cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried basil


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions.  Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the asparagus, season with the salt, pepper, and basil, and cook for 3 minutes until slightly soft.  Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes.  Pour the broth into the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer.  Cook until the tomatoes start to burst and the stock is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the asparagus mixture to a large serving bowl.  Add the cooked pasta and the Parmesan.  Toss well, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta.

From Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes by Giada De Laurentiis.

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Penne with Spinach Sauce


  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 ounce cream cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the penne and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.

Mince the garlic in a food processor.  Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and half of the spinach leaves.  Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Set the cheese and spinach mixture aside.

Meanwhile, place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.  Spoon the pasta atop the spinach leaves in the bowl.  Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture over the pasta mixture and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten.   Sprinkle the Parmesan over and serve.

From Penne with Spinach Sauce by Giada De Laurentiis.

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