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5 from 2 votes

Baked Goat Cheese Pasta

This vegetarian Baked Goat Cheese Pasta is super easy to make and is loaded with creamy goat cheese, Mezzetta’s Artisan Ingredients Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil Marinara, and curly kale. Finished with rainbow cherry tomatoes and a pesto panko topping, it is full of texture and flavor. No one would ever guess it only takes about 30 minutes to come together!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time29 mins
Total Time34 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 560kcal
Author: Brianna May

Ingredients

Pasta

  • 1 24 ounce jar Mezzetta's Artisan Ingredients Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil Marinara
  • 4 cups bite sized pieces kale loosely packed*
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 10 ounces fusilli or rotini pasta cooked according to instructions minus 1-2 minutes*

Topping

  • 1 Tablespoon basil pesto
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes sliced, preferably rainbow
  • 4 ½ ounces mozzarella cheese*

Instructions

  • Review all recipe notes and instructions before beginning.
  • In a large pot, heat the sauce and kale over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the kale begins to soften.
  • Turn the heat to low. Add in the half and half and the goat cheese. Stir continuously until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat and fold in the cooked pasta.
  • In a small bowl mix together the pesto and olive oil. Fold in the panko. Set aside.
  • Grease a 2.5 quart baking dish. Pour the pasta into it. Top with tomatoes and cheese.
  • Sprinkle the panko topping over the cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are bubbling. Broil for 1-2 minutes if desired.

Notes

Kale: You can use curly kale or dino kale. 
Pasta: You can use any short cut pasta. Boil the pasta for about 1-2 minutes less than the shortest cooking time recommended on the package. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven. 
Mozzarella: You can use fresh mozzarella (that is sold in a brine) or a block.
Salt the pasta water. Salting the pasta water will bring out all of the other flavors in this dish. 
Do not overcook the pasta. I recommend slightly undercooking the pasta because it will continue to cook in the oven. This prevents the pasta from becoming mushy. 
Use Mezzetta's Artisan Ingredients Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil Marinara. This pasta sauce is loaded with fresh garlic and basil which give the dish tons of flavor and make the ingredients list and prep work super minimal.
Heat the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer so that the goat cheese can melt into it before baking. 
Use cubed mozzarella. Cubed mozzarella or mozzarella balls are how you achieve those wonderful cheese pools on top of a dish. While shredded cheese gives the same flavor, it does not have the same effect.   
Broil the pasta. If you want the topping to be a little cripier I recommend broiling the dish for a couple of minutes at the end. Keep a close eye on it so it does not burn. It will brown very quickly.

Nutrition

Calories: 560kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 1227mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 11g