Pasta Help-Yourself

As I described a few weeks ago to Hungry In Ohio, cooking your own meals is usually preferable to heating up some processed food provided to you in a kit. Sometimes, though, it’s just easier to follow the directions on the back of the pasta casserole box.

Corduroy Orange to the rescue! Here’s a very simple, very tasty recipe for a pasta casserole that you can throw together without much hassle at the end of a long and busy day.

Pasta Help-Yourself Casserole:

  • 1 pound linguine, broken in 1/2
  • 1 can cream of _______ soup
  • milk (to fill empty soup can)
  • fresh spinach or swiss chard
  • pepper jack cheese
  • spice mix: 2 parts fennel, 1.5 parts coriander, 1 part black pepper
  • oregano
  • paprika

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Wash the greens while you’re heating the pasta water. If you’re using chard, strip it from the stems and cut the stems crosswise into very thin pieces. Boil the pasta until it’s al dente (still has a bit of a bite to it). Mix the condensed soup with milk, a healthy pinch of the spice mix, and a good pinch of oregano. Drain the pasta and then put it into a pyrex baking dish. Cover it with the spinach or chard (and chard stems, if applicable), then pour the soup and spice mixture on top of that. Top everything with grated cheese and paprika. Bake in the 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted through and the greens are cooked; about 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Note: if you don’t mind dirtying a second pan, it might be good to saute the swiss chard stems before adding them to the casserole. On the other hand, if you cut them thinly enough or you don’t mind a little bit of texture to the finished product, it’s easier and quicker to just add them in to the mix as described above.

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