Penne Pasta with Spinach and Goat Cheese Sauce Recipe

Published by Laura on

If there is anything you need to know about me, it’s that I love pasta and chocolate (not necessarily together though.) I could probably eat pasta 7 days a week. I’m part Italian and I’ve been lucky enough to have my mom and uncles teach me what they know about Italian cooking and wine making. But, I’m always on the lookout for a good pasta recipe to try. My college roomies and I used to watch Giada on the Food Network after class and talk about how one day we would try out her recipes, especially the one for prosciutto wrapped asparagus (hmm, I still need to try that.) I love her pesto recipe and always make a ton of it during the summer when we’re growing basil in the garden.

So, when I found a Giada recipe for a penne with spinach sauce that looked easy and was healthy I had to give it a try. All I needed was whole wheat pasta, spinach, and a few types of cheese. Jason was excited as soon as I said “cheese.”

1 box whole wheat or multi grain penne
3 garlic cloves
2 ounces goat cheese (I accidentally bought garlic and herb goat cheese)
1 ounce reduced fat cream cheese
6 ounces spinach leaves
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Simple ingredient list!

Simple ingredient list!


1. Start boiling a large pot of water. I usually add a pinch of salt and a splash of olive oil to the water.  Add the penne and cook until it is al dente, stirring occasionally.

2. Mince the garlic in a food processor. I adore my food processor, it makes it so much easier to make sauces and pesto! Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, and half of the spinach leaves. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Set the cheese and spinach mixture aside.

Finished spinach cheese sauce

Finished spinach cheese sauce

3. Put the rest of the spinach leaves in a large bowl.

4. Save about 1/2 cup of the pasta water before you drain the pasta (this will help distribute the cheese mixture over the pasta.) Put the pasta over the spinach leaves in the bowl.  Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture over the pasta mixture and toss until the pasta is coated. Add the reserved pasta water while you’re tossing the pasta, just enough to moisten the pasta. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top and serve!

Final pasta dish

Final pasta dish

The entire recipe did not take long at all, about 20 minutes total! Perfect to throw together after a long day at work. It looked pretty when it was all done, and tasted delicious too! The sauce was creamy, the goat and cream cheese together was yummy. I’m not a huge fan of strong cheeses (I can tolerate blue cheese, but in small doses.) You couldn’t tell that you were eating a whole wheat pasta either, it did not taste dry at all!

Jason and I always vote on new recipes, either keep it or pitch it. We are definitely keeping this one…but we’d change a few things. I thought it was a little strong on the garlic…probably because I used all 3 garlic cloves AND the garlic and herb goat cheese. (Sorry hon!) Jason thought the sauce could have been creamer, so we decided to double the amount of cream cheese and/or use more pasta water next time. I only ended up using about 2 tablespoons of the pasta water so next time I’ll be sure and use more.

If you give this a try, let us know what you think!

Important Healthy Facts:
Yields- 6 servings
Appx Calories per serving- 326


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