Unstuffed Pasta Florentine

15 Reviews / 3.9 Average
Instead of giving up one-dish meals, I've decided "unstuffed" dinners may be the way to go. I'm excited to share this super easy and tasty Pasta Florentine.
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We used to love making many different varieties of stuffed pasta shells, but now that we’ve gone the whole-grain route, I just cannot (easily) find jumbo whole-wheat shells in order to make all of our old favorites. So instead of giving up those yummy one-dish meals, I have just decided “unstuffed” dinners may be the way to go.

I am excited to share this super easy and super tasty version of Pasta Florentine that I adapted from a recent issue of Rachael Ray magazine. If you need some inspiration to switch things up with new recipes, then order a couple of food magazines. I love to flip through for ideas!

Oh, and PS – This particular dish was a HUMONGOUS hit with the kids. They have both repeatedly asked me if I can make it again. So enjoy!

Unstuffed Pasta Florentine Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food #pasta #realfood



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96 thoughts on “Unstuffed Pasta Florentine”

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Recipe Rating

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Cari. Normal substitutions for nutmeg would be mace, or more commonly on spice shelves, cinnamon, allspice, ginger or ground cloves. We’ve not substituted for nutmeg in this recipe, however. ~Amy

  1. This was delicious! I added 1lb of crumbled cooked italian sausage and followed the rest of the recipe perfectly, and it was devoured by all! Thanks!

  2. Not sure if anyone has mentioned this other alternative idea yet, but I’ve just made a dish of roll-ups using whole wheat lasagna noodles and the filling I would normally stuff jumbo pasta shells with. Nestled them on a base of tomato sauce, with some more and some mozza over the top and it looks delicious. They will also separate well for leftovers, freezer meals and school lunches.

  3. 4 stars
    Made this morning and stuck it in the fridge before heading to work. Threw it in the oven at 350 for about 25 minutes and then did 2 minutes under the broiler to brown the top. It was really wonderful and the entire family (yes, kids included) enjoyed it. Thank you for the recipe.

  4. This in the oven for dinner here tonight. I made some small changes: preheated at broil but turned temp down to 400 & bake immediately after putting dish in oven (one rung above middle) & baked for 18min (the top crisped up beautifully!!), buttered the baking dish ahead, used 1c heavy whipping cream & 1c 2% milk in the white sauce, used about 8oz of baby spinach, folded ricotta in with noodles, spinach & sauce then added a bit more on top, poured a can of diced tomatoes with garlic & oregano on top of one half (just to see how it would taste) used 12oz of mozzerella & I minced some fresh basil out of my window to sprinkle on top of each serving… The house smells delicious!!

  5. WINNER!! Served this last night and was a hit all the way around. Immediately adding this into the meal rotation. Thanks!

  6. This was a yummy dinner. My kiddos are very picky and always complain about my cooking. This is a keeper. No complaints tonight. I might try to bake to get it hotter. It seemed to chill quickly. Thank you for the recipe.,

  7. I’m eager to try this and was just about to post to ask about baking it rather than broiling it. I have had not so good experiences with broiling so I’d prefer to bake it. I’ll try as one post mentions above and bake it at 400 for 25 or so minutes. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  8. 5 stars
    This dinner was a big hit tonight! My kids raised an eyebrow at first at the spinach, and they ate around it some, but they loved it and asked for more! I did change it a bit as I mixed the ricotta in with the pasta and baked it for about 25 minutes at a 400 oven.

  9. Holly, you could use cottage cheese if you didn’t have ricotta. I’ve used it in a pinch. It’s not the same, but it will work.

    1. I have a dairy allergy and I make “ricotta” with tofu. I mix a package of tofu with about 1-2TBS of honey and 1-2TBS of apple cider vinegar. Add some salt and pepper as well. I mix it in with lasagna all the time and you can’t taste the difference. I plan on using the same recipe for this.

  10. Ug! This looks sooo good! Wish baby #3 wasn’t giving me a dairy intolerance as I would totally eat that right up!

  11. When you say, “Carefully fold the noodles and spinach together with the sauce,” do you mean that you are rolling it up? Sorry, I’m confused by that last step. Thanks! Sounds delish, though. :)

    1. She means to mix gently (fold is a baking term), so that the pasta gets evenly coated with sauce and spinach, but doesn’t break up. It’s easiest to use a spatula, to draw pasta from the bottom and then fold over, till evenly coated.

  12. 4 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight. It really seemed like a *lot* of cheese, but it was quite delicious. I pureed the onions into the sauce, because my kids will reject onion pieces in food, but they still wouldn’t eat it. *sigh* If cheese laden pasta is unacceptable, I am not sure what to feed them.

  13. 4 stars
    I personally thought it was really good! Not diet-friendly, but definitely yummy! The crunch top was so delicious, I wanted to peel it off and eat the whole thing LOL! Unfortunately, my extremely picky 6 yr old was not impressed in the slightest, and is currently choking it down. She doesn’t have anywhere near the palette your daughter’s have, but I’m hoping it will come in time. I really enjoy one dish meals, hope you will post some more :)

  14. This is tonight’s dinner…prepped & in the fridge, ready to heat/broil once my homemade honey oat wheat bread is almost done baking. Can’t wait! I cut the recipe in half since we are only 3 & it still filled a 9×13 pan, and I suspect we’ll get 5 hearty servings from it. I also added sliced mushrooms to the onion/ garlic mixture. I entered the ingredients into the recipe builder on Myfitnesspal.com & w/ a half recipe making 5 servings (so 10 servings for the whole recipe), using 1% milk instead of cream (that’s what I had on hand), & whole milk cheeses, the nutritional info looks like this, per serving: 402 calories, 14g fat, 45g carbs, 9g fiber, 50g cholesterol, 28g protein. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Fran. We do not provide nutrition information on our recipes. We want people focusing on eating real foods/more whole foods and less on numbers. Here are some posts which help explain our philosophy: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/01/04/healthy-eating-defined/, https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/01/23/portion-size-matters/, and https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/10-reasons-to-cut-out-processed-food/ and https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/04/29/mini-pledge-week-8-stop-eating-when-you-feel-full/. There are many tools available online which can help calculate nutrition detail for recipes. ~Amy

  15. For the fresh spinach or power mix does anyone know if frozen would work? I have a huge bag or organic kale that was a great deal at Costco that I thought I would use for sure but kale is a fairly new thing to us and so far we know that we like kale chips and I don’t think that would work with frozen kale. Recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it!

    1. I have made similar recipes with kale that I had purchased fresh, washed, dried, chopped & put in the freezer & it worked out fine!

  16. Do you have to broil it, or could you bake it to heat everything and melt the cheese? I know the cheese won’t brown if it isn’t broiled, but just wondered if it was just as good baked.

  17. I happen to have some of that green leafy power mix in the fridge so this will be on the menu for Monday. I also plan to make the sweet potato soup tomorrow for dinner. Both look and soud so yummy! I also enjoyed the discussion of “grilling”, “broiling” and BBQ. It is always interesting to learn from other cultures.

  18. 2 stars
    I made this tonight and it was ok. I think it needed more spices – salt, pepper, and maybe basil or oregano. Just seemed a bit bland. I added diced zucchini so it would have more veggies.

  19. 4 stars
    Thanks for the great recipe! I made this tonight. Even my super-picky eaters finished without too much of a fight! I might try it with some more veggies like peppers or zucchini in the future. The sauce was great and I will use it as a base for other dishes for sure!

  20. If you wanted to make this lower fat, instead of using milk/cream, use the same amount of cottage cheese. Just put it in the blender and puree it until it’s smooth. It tastes like you used cream, but is much lower calorie!

  21. Hi Lisa,
    This recipe reads as one I will try!
    I understand that people do not publish a nutritional breakdown for most whole foods type recipes. I am a 59 year old woman with Type 2 diabetes for 20+ years due to steroids given for antibodies during infertility treatment in the early 1990’s. I have been slowly transitioning to a more clean food plan. It is often very difficult to determine the amount of a dish I should enjoy. I have gotten pretty good at “guessing”. The main issue are not to much carbohydrate count and an ample amount of protein.
    Thank you for your commitment to wellness!

    1. Paula, I track recipe nutrition through loseit.com. There are other websites and apps that will let you enter recipes and automatically calculate the nutritional information. Look around for one that works best for you.

  22. Have you tried manicotti instead of stuffed shells. My mom makes manicotti from scratch and it is a little like making pancakes and then stuffing and rolling them. I think you can easily adapt a manicotti recipe to be whole grain. My impression is that is just eggs milk and flour.

  23. Brittany @ proteinandpumps

    I’ve been looking for a new “pasta” recipe. Can wait to try this one! As always thanks for sharing and for your commitment to spreading the healthy word ; )

  24. This looks so good! Can’t wait to try it. We love one dish meals around here. Putting it in the meal plan for next week for sure :)

  25. Hee, this sounds really yummy and all but I’m sorry to have to point out that it is *not* “one dish” anything. Unless you are referring to the finished product being in one dish? One dish would usually be used to refer to the amount of dishes for clean-up. This recipe leaves you with three.

    1. Actually a “one dish meal” is technically when you bake (or slow cook) it all in one dish…not how many you use in the process of making it :) At least that is the only way I’ve heard the term used.

  26. Actually, I think “broiling” in the US = “grilling” in the UK. Grilling to those of us in the US is usually what those in the UK refer to as bbq.

  27. Suz, yes, grilling = broiling.

    Sherryl, the UK has a different dialect of English. Not all English speakers use the American dialect. That means words mean different things in the UK than the US. Ovens (or “cookers” or “hobs”) have a “grill” setting, not a broil setting.

  28. Is Broiling the American for grilling? Sounds very yummy and I happen to have a bag of spinach from the veg box this week. Super sorted :)

    1. Not really Suz –

      Broiling is a high heat method of cooking to quickly sear and cook meats. You can broil in an oven or on the stove top (for meat – not this pasta dish). The heat is generally applied to the food from the top when you broil in an oven. Things get REALLY hot and burn REALLY REALLY quickly, which is why you have to watch it closely ;)

      Broiling is what gives you that nice, crispy, cheesy crust you see in Lisa’s picture :)

    2. Broiling is when you turn the burner at the top of your oven on, so the heat is very hot and only comes from above. It’s a great way to get cheese melted and a bit crispy!

    3. Sorry for the confusion…I am referring to the “broil” setting on the oven. It’s just a really high heat to melt the cheese and brown the top.