- Preheat oven to 400. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil.
- While the water heats, chop the onion and garlic. Mix meat with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, fennel seeds (if using), basil and oregano. Thaw frozen or cook fresh greens. (Microwave works well for either)
- Heat oil in large skillet and cook onion until it softens, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. Crumble meat into skillet and cook until there is no trace of pink. Remove from heat and pour off any excess fat.
- Squeeze as much moisture from greens as possible, chop and add to meat.
- Stir in pasta sauce, ricotta or cottage cheese and half the mozzarella cheese. Pour into baking dish. (At this point, can be refrigerated for later baking) Scatter remaining mozzarella cheese on top and bake for 15 minutes, until well heated through and the cheese is melted. (Allow an extra 10 - 15 minutes if previously refrigerated)
|Prep Time: 30 minutes|
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Container: 9 x 13 baking dish or pan
|-||1 pound short pasta (penne, macaroni, rotini, etc)|
|-||4 cloves garlic, or 2 teaspoons garlic powder (not garlic salt)|
|-||1 pound ground meat (beef, pork, turkey, lamb)|
|-||2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled|
|-||2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled|
|-||1 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground (optional)|
|-||1 10 oz package frozen spinach or 1 lb fresh spinach, chard or other greens|
|-||1 jar pasta sauce, about 26 oz, or use homemade|
|-||1 carton ricotta or small-curd cottage cheese, 15 or 16 oz.|
|-||8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, divided|
|-|| salt and pepper|