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Spring Vegetable Pasta Casserole

Spring vegetable pasta bake
Casey Barber / TODAY
Cook Time:
1 hr
Prep Time:
15 mins

Chef notes

Spring is a notoriously fickle season. One day, it's sunny and gorgeous and you just want to eat all the green vegetables in sight. The next, it's snowing again and you're ready for a big crock of comfort food. What’s one to do when the weather just can’t make up its mind? Whip up a spring pasta casserole that makes the best of this in-between period, combining tender spinach, zucchini and spring onions with creamy ricotta and penne pasta to form a meal that’s just right.

Most of the hands-on work for this baked pasta happens in 15 minutes, while the oven takes care of the rest, making it an easy meal to pull together even if you have other chores to handle around the house. You can save even more time by cooking the pasta as you sauté the spring onions and vegetables. Once they’re tender, fold the noodles and veggies into a ricotta-egg mixture, then transfer to a casserole dish. Pop the entire thing in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the edges are browned and bubbling.

Packed with creamy greens and noodles, this luxurious casserole is a filling meal all on its own, but you can also serve it alongside other dishes at Easter or any springtime Sunday dinner. It’ll work beautifully as part of a spread with other seasonal favorites like lamb, salmon and asparagus.

Swap Option: If you’re having trouble finding zucchini, substitute for whatever seasonal veggies you can find at the supermarket. Sliced asparagus and fresh peas would also be a delicious addition.


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 pound penne
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 spring onions or 1 large Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise and cut into thin half-moons
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag baby spinach
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
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Preheat the oven to 375 F. 


Bring a large (8-quart) pot of water and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. When the salt dissolves, add the penne and cook until just a minute short of al dente. Drain the cooked penne and reserve while you cook the vegetables. 


Heat the olive oil in a large, high-sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes, until the onion starts to soften and turn translucent. 


Stir in the zucchini and a pinch of salt, cover and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes until the zucchini starts to soften and turn translucent.


Uncover and add the spinach in handfuls, stirring until each handful wilts before adding the next. Remove from the heat. 


In a large bowl, stir the ricotta, egg, pepper, and remaining salt until the egg is incorporated. Stir in the vegetables, then stir in the cooked penne. 


Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling at the edges and the pasta is browned in bits.