Baked Rigatoni with Spinach, Provolone, and Turkey Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Baked Rigatoni with Spinach, Provolone, and Turkey

11 reviews / 4.8 average

Getting back into the kitchen is rough, except not really. Cause look at that cheese.

Somehow I moseyed my way through making this over the course of three days. I mean, three.days. 72 hours. FOR REAL. Don’t run away – it’s not going to take you three days to make this because you’re focused and on-task and normal. But wowzers. Apparently I am not. During these long Food Blogger Pro recording days, I’ve gotten way too comfortable with frozen pizzas and Pad Thai takeout and possibly had my brain sucked out of my head by those massively hot buzzing video lights.

The good news is that this cozy deep-dish baked rigatoni is less about my distracted cooking abilities and more about the inexplicable goodness of Provolone cheese.

Cheese shreds on a red cutting board.

PS. I felt compelled to show you that I had to keep my shredded cheese in the freezer to keep it from turning into fondue on the cutting board. Photographic reasons why this took me three days to make, exhibit A.

Freezer of food.

Being that it’s the new year, I thought I’d start out with one of my all-time favorite so-healthy-but-actually-tastes-amazing tricks.

I call it “whole wheat pasta drowning in creamy squash sauce”.

Food boiling in a pot.

Also healthy – eating spinach. Which I honestly haven’t done since we left America six months ago. There’s a 99% chance that I’ll cry when I take my first bite of salad again. Ugh. SALAD. Read: RANCH DRESSING.

Is it weird that when I finally found spinach I immediately stirred it into pasta and cheese?

Or is it the best idea I’ve had in the last three days?

Spinach in a pot on the stove.

Definitely a good idea.

Can I tell you about New Years? –> a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg and a whole side of french fries for dinner last night, a few bites of Bjork’s deep fried Monte Cristo with raspberry jam, and an unfair amount of his fries. OMG. How was I just talking about salad? It was so, so good. By the way, what do regular people do on New Year’s day? Mysteries.

Bottom line. I really need healthy things to taste good.

This pasta? This healthy pasta? I’m LOVING it on this second day of the new year. I didn’t even really notice the squash sauce, which could be good or bad depending on your feelings for squash, and it could also have something to do with my taste buds being permanently desensitized to the flavor of squash after it being my only liked vegetable of the last 6 months, but it doesn’t even matter. In 2013, we need to be thinking about what really matters.

Like melted Provolone cheese cascading over this gorgeous healthy-ish pasta.

Baked rigatoni in a clear glass bowl with a wooden spoon.

Really, though.

Do it for the Provolone.

Baked rigatoni in a clear bowl.
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Baked Rigatoni

Baked Rigatoni with Spinach, Provolone, and Turkey


This baked rigatoni is loaded with healthy stuff: creamy squash sauce, fresh spinach, ground turkey, and Provolone.


  • 2 yellow onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium kabocha or butternut squash, peeled and cubed, about 45 cups
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • salt + pepper + dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup cream or half and half
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 1 cup grated Provolone cheese
  • 1 lb. whole wheat rigatoni


  1. Mince the onions and garlic. Combine in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil; add half of the onion/garlic mixture and the prepared squash. Cook for 10 minutes or until squash/onion/garlic are fork-tender. Transfer the cooked squash combo with 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth from the pot to a blender and puree until smooth, adding salt, pepper, and dried oregano to taste. Stir in cream and set aside.
  3. Brown the turkey over medium high heat with the remaining onion/garlic mixture. Season generously with salt, pepper, and oregano. Drain out any excess liquid so that the meat will get a browned, almost crispy look.
  4. Cook the rigatoni in a large pot. Undercook the pasta slightly to avoid mushy noodles – I boiled mine for about 6 minutes. Drain the water; add the sauce, sausage, and spinach to the pot with the noodles. Stir until combined. Transfer to a large baking dish (any shape), stopping half way to add a layer of cheese (about 1/2 cup of cheese). Pour remaining pasta mixture in and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until the top is beginning to brown and everything is heated through.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: baked rigatoni, turkey rigatoni, spinach rigatoni

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks glorious! What a great way to start the new year. If it’s anything like the cauliflower alfredo, this will be delicious…

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    You’ve got Provolone over there?! Jealous. I miss Provolone. It’s incredibly stupid that we don’t have Provolone despite almost sharing a border with Italy. Ugh.

    And squash sauce? Hmm. I don’t think I’ve ever had squash in any form but the thought of it kind of scares me. But I know I need to try because this looks amazing!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Getting back in the kitchen after the holidays IS rough. I’m impressed you stuck with this for 3 days! I probably would have just left that cheese in the freezer to turn gray or something…

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh I love love love that you made a pasta dish *healthy* for the new year! I also love that it includes both squash and spinach – This is going on the grocery list for next week!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks really good, I am always looking for something new to do with ground turkey that will keep it moist. I must make this. I also must tell myself to (not add bacon) LOL. This is an excellent veggie dish as well, if I substitute the meat maybe with mushrooms. YUM
    Thank you

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Whether it’s healthy or not, it looks delicious. Blessings for the New Year. Love your blog, keep up the amazing work. Can’t wait for the Food Blogger Pro!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Baked pasta–so comforting and amazing! It looks so good. But I have to say–how is your freezer so empty?? As a foodblogger, aren’t you supposed to have fifty million things in there? Or it could just be me and my crazy stuffed freezer… 🙂

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    That looks great! I love squash/cheese sauces on pasta. It is the perfect fake out healthy pasta sauce. I like the addition of spinach too, I wonder if kale would work as well.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is beautiful…and I’m so sorry about no spinach for six months!!!
    Anyways, you seem to roll with things well, so carry on.
    I’m telling everyone about my new favorite food blog, just so ya know! 🙂

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Looks like constructive criticism is not your cup of tea…you deleted this comment I posted.
    “I love your recipes, and I appreciate the fact that you are trying to make a positive difference in the lives of Filipinos. However, I can’t help but notice your sense of superiority in your posts. The Philippines is a tropical country. The weather has always been like that. Unless you didn’t read up before going there, you should limit the whining and get over it. The dirt, the pollution, the poverty is not something for you to capitalize on so you can feel good about yourself. I know from your blog that you have a generous heart but your tone in most of your posts make you sound like you think you’re better than the people that surround you right now. If you’re thinking you’re different because you’ve been pampered all your life in your first world country, perhaps these people think they are different from you too because they are tough, that they know what a real problem is as opposed to your petty drama. I’m sorry if I offend you but I just get turned off whenever I observe your attitude when you write. Nobody forced you to be there, nor has anyone asked you to judge what a sorry life these people are living. A crash course on cultural sensitivity should have been suggested to you before you took that plane to Asia.”

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hi Mci, I read your first comment and responded via email. I didn’t feel like the comments section of a post was the appropriate place to have the conversation, which was my reason for taking it down. I’ll leave the re-post of your comment up so that you know to check your email.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Reading this post is making me feel absolutely starving – it looks & sounds like the most delicious way to start the new year. Happy 2013 to you guys!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yum, I love all excuses to eat pasta. Our family is cutting back on meat this year, so maybe this will be my first experiment into some sort of ground meat alternative. Yikes! Also, how do you have so few things in your freezer for how hot it is there?!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    hahahaah the freezer shot totally made me crack up. oh the perks of being a food blogger. 🙂 I love this recipe Lindsay!! I eat a lot of veggies already, but I’m trying to think of unique recipes to incorporate them into my diet. I’m bookmarking this one!