Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta

$3.72 recipe / $0.93 serving

Easy wins again!

I’m on day 6 of an 8 day work week, so that means two things: I’m tired and I’m hungry. Quick skillet pasta dishes like this Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta are perfect for such an occasion. They require only a few ingredients, cook up super fast, and leave me feeling full and happy! :)

This version uses just a touch of cream cheese and Parmesan to make a regular tomato sauce ultra rich and creamy. If you’re not into cream cheese, you could also add a splash (1/4 cup or so) of half and half to achieve a similar effect. I used regular pasta, but whole wheat would actually be pretty good in this and would add some extra fiber and nutrients to make it a more well rounded meal. I was lucky enough to get spinach on sale for $0.99 per bag (score!), but if fresh spinach is just out of your price range, this would also be really good with sliced mushrooms. Just cook the mushrooms along with the onions and garlic in the beginning. Or, hey, you could always do a plain creamy tomato sauce. Nothin’ wrong with that!

Anyway, tomorrow is Monday (again) and the week will be long, so I hope this recipe helps make dinner time a little faster, easier, and more enjoyable for you this week! Enjoy!

Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta

Creamy Tomato Spinach Pasta

4.8 from 127 reviews
Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $3.72
Cost Per Serving: $0.93
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1 small onion $0.25
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes $0.59
  • ½ tsp dried oregano $0.03
  • ½ tsp dried basil $0.03
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional) $0.02
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste $0.05
  • ½ tsp salt $0.03
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.11
  • 2 oz. cream cheese $0.48
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan $0.42
  • ½ lb. penne pasta $0.89
  • ½ (9 oz.) bag fresh spinach $0.50
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender (7-10) minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander.
  2. While waiting for the pasta to cook, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-low heat until softened and transparent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and a ½ cup of water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.
  4. Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and then add them to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Use a whisk to stir the sauce until the cream cheese has fully melted in and the sauce is creamy. Add half of the Parmesan to the skillet and whisk until it is melted in. Add the remainder of the parmesan and whisk until melted in again.
  5. Add the fresh spinach and gently stir it into the sauce until it has wilted (3-5 minutes). Add the pasta and stir until it is well coated in the creamy tomato sauce. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

 

Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta

Step by Step Photos

Onion and garlicStart by bringing a large pot of water to a boil so that the pasta can cook while you prepare the sauce. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook them both in a skillet with the olive oil over medium-low heat until they are soft and transparent.

Diced Tomatoes & HerbsOnce the onions have softened, add the can of diced tomatoes (with the juices), dried oregano, dried basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper, then stir it all together.

Tomato SauceI wanted it a little “saucier” so I also added 2 Tbsp of tomato paste and about 1/2 cup of water. This is what it looked like *after* adding the tomato paste and water. 

Broken Can OpenerI have to pause for a second to tell you a crazy story. This is the second can opener in the past month that has spontaneously stopped working. It works one day and then the next thing I know the gears suddenly don’t match up, it won’t clamp on the can correctly, and when it finally does start to cut, it cuts through the side rather than the top of the can. I broke a sweat opening this can of tomato paste and finally had to use a fork to pry it open just enough to scoop some out. Weird, right? Hopefully the third can opener will be a winner.

Cook PastaAnyway, at some point the water will be boiling, so you can add the pasta and let that cook while you finish the sauce.

Cream CheeseTurn the heat under the skillet down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few chunks and then add it to the skillet with the sauce. Use a whisk to stir it in as it melts…

Chunky SauceIt will look kind of chunky or grainy at first, but just keep stirring…

Smooth SauceEventually it will begin to melt in and get all creamy and delicious. Once the cream cheese is melted in, add about half of the Parmesan and stir it until it is melted in. Add the second half and stir until melted in again.

Fresh SpinachAdd the fresh spinach…

Wilted SpinachAnd gently stir it in until it has wilted. This can get kinda messy, so stir gently so that the spinach doesn’t fly out of the skillet.

Add PastaFinally, add the cooked and DRAINED pasta. You can use any shape, but I like a tubular pasta the best because the sauce gets all up inside those holes and makes it SO good. My next choice would have been bow-tie pasta. 

Creamy Tomato & Spinach PastaMmmmm… How can you resist?

305 Comments

  1. Charlotte says:

    Beth, I love your web site. Your cooking is down home and great. Thanks for sharing!

  2. We made this last night for meatless Monday, and it was REALLY good! We run the gambit of veggie lovers, ranging from can’t stand to doesn’t eat anything but! The veggie hater even ate a few pieces of spinach, and that’s saying something! Thanks for helping us meet our tight grocery budget this month, we’ll be using your recipes more often! As a matter of fact, I’ll be writing about you on my blog! (Not that I have many followers yet… LOL)

  3. Indirect Libre says:

    This is the first recipe I’ve made from your website and I went out immediately and got groceries for four more of your meals. You cook the way I cook, but way smarter! And as a grad student on a major budget (also I just moved to Montreal and oh lordy, the groceries are through the roof here) I definitely appreciate the tricks that take a meal from grub to gourmet.

    Keep up the awesome work!

  4. AmmyDo says:

    I really enjoyed this recipe!! Is so easy and delicious! thank you! My family love it!

  5. Sandy says:

    Hey Beth! This recipe was the first one I tried. It was delicious. Even my picky husband liked it :). I’ve been an addict to your site ever since, trying a new recipe every time. Thanks for sharing this deliciousness with us.

  6. Lorioriori says:

    I made this tonight, and it was really fantastic! I didn’t adapt the recipe a bit–which is rare for me–and I’m so glad. I was a little dubious of the red pepper flakes, but they really made the finished dish sing. Thanks, Beth!

  7. erica says:

    This was delicious! super fast too, I added extra pepper flakes to make it extra spicy. Yum yum

  8. great recipe! I doubled it(except I did not double the water), put in whole wheat spiral noodles and chopped up my spinach.

  9. Cecily says:

    So good! Made it last night with grilled hot Italian sausage. Everyone loved it and the leftovers were bomb!

  10. Wow, this was fantastic!! I’ll definitely be checking out other recipes on your site. Thank you :).

  11. It was very good :) Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Staci says:

    Made this with diced red bell pepper and button mushrooms. Absolutely delicious. I think I will puree it next time.

  13. Sabrina says:

    This is an excellent and quick dish. Thanks for helping a single working mom with a quick dinner.

  14. Brittany says:

    Made this tonight for a group of friends–just excellent! And cheap! Will definitely make again.

  15. delish!

  16. Sweetjanetoo says:

    Nom, nom, nom….this was SO great! Added fresh mushrooms at the beginning with the onions & garlic, added 1/2 cup of water from the boiling pasta water (the sauce was a little too thick) and used about 1.5 cups of frozen chopped spinach from the bag, which I microwaved for a minute and 1/2 before adding to the sauce.
    Truly scrumptious! Thank you, again!

  17. Casandra says:

    Made this tonight. So good. Decided to blend half the sauce Before adding the spinach so it was extra creamy. Only needed to use 1tbsp of cream. Also added peas

  18. neli says:

    It was too spicy for my taste. Is it the oregano? It was also too much onion. Im sure with a little tweaking it will be great.

    • Nope, the spiciness comes from the red pepper flakes, which can be fairly potent. You can add less to make it just a little spicy, or even leave them out all together. :)

  19. I just tried your recipe….wow it was so simple and delicious. Thanks for sharing :-)

  20. Stacy says:

    Why oh why won’t my husband eat tomatoes or onion!?!? “It’s the texture!”
    Sigh.

    He’ll just have to eat something else for dinner some night soon!

    Anyone know the most nutritious way to do pasta? Multi-grain? Wheat? Not including Veggie noodles.

    • Jennie says:

      Blend it!

    • Sally says:

      Agree with Jenn…..blend that right up My hubby hated green pepper texture when first married. I threw a lot in the blender than. I am old now and my hubby eats that stuff but now my kids (in their 30’s!) have fits over tomato, onion, mushroom. STILL! And dad complains about it but he was just as bad! have a little hamilton beach, I’d throw in what was bendable and zap it in there. Then add the spinach and the penne. oh lordie!

  21. Erica says:

    This is delicious! So easy and always have the ingredients on hand. I usually add some extra cream cheese since, well, who doesnt love extra cheesiness. I’m adding some sliced honey garlic sausage tonight for some extra protein. No doubt it will be

  22. Carla says:

    I am telling you speaking from experience you MUST invest in an awesome can opener – look for WMF / you will be using it for decades and for $20 something it’s a one time investment you will NEVER need to replace! Ever!

  23. This is delicious! :)

  24. Dezi says:

    I can’t stop making this dish. I love everything about it! I throw some baby bellas in there and it’s even better. Thanks for the recipe.

  25. Sofia says:

    Hi Beth,
    Made this recipe yesterday. It got sooo creamy and delicious! I messed up the sauce to pasta ratio as always, still good though, ahah. I’m definetely going to do it again.

  26. Evee says:

    I made this three times so far…Perfection each time. So simple but so good. Probably one of the best “quick and easy” pasta dishes Ever!

  27. Danielle Valdez says:

    I made this for my family tonight just added some sweet Italian sausage…super yummy and so easy…I love this website
    always my weekly go to to try something new…

  28. Tyler says:

    Super delicious! This might be my new favorite pasta dish. I followed the recipe to the letter except I heavily salted the water before cooking the pasta, like I usually do.

  29. Elizabeth says:

    Made this for dinner last night – so tasty! I was out of cream cheese and I had an extra pint of cherry tomatoes in my fridge that were going to go bad. So – I substituted two oz of cream cheese for 2 oz of creamy, mild goat cheese and added the diced cherry tomatoes in addition to the can of diced tomatoes. It was delicious!

  30. Mike says:

    I stop before the spinach and puree it with an immersion blender. Makes a great cream of tomato style soup. I’ve also held out some of the tomatoes until after blending so I have some chunks of tomatoes in the soup.

  31. Hannah R. says:

    This turned out absolutely fantastic. As a graduate student it is hard to find delicious, low-budget meals that will fit into my busy schedule. This turned out to be one of my favorite dishes I have made so far. 5 Stars! Thanks, Budget Bytes!!

  32. Sunny says:

    Also an amazing recipe. I used Pomi tomatos (strained) instead of water and fresher diced tomatoes instead of canned. Give it a shot for a thicker sauce. I also did it without the cream cheese–just as good!!

  33. Stacy says:

    My husband and I love this recipe and how easy it is! We usually add mushrooms as well, and sometimes use Boursin instead of the cream cheese (especially if we can get it on sale).

  34. this recipe is delicious and easy! additional ingredients that I had on hand were dried thyme, roasted red bell peppers, and balsamic vinegar which deepened the flavors.

    For any lactose intolerant people, Toffutti brand makes a fake cream cheese that is completely non-dairy and works perfectly with this dish, but is pricey.

  35. Caren says:

    What do you do with the leftover tomato paste? I hate to see it go to waste, but don’t use it very often in my recipes. Do you have another recipe that calls for it that I can make tomorrow night? ;) or does it freeze well?

    • Yes, it does freeze very well! :) I always spoon it into a quart sized freezer bag, then squeeze it down into the bottom of the bag (use the edge of a countertop to kind of smoosh it down there). Once it’s frozen, you can kind of break off a piece every time you need to use some. Other people have said that they spoon one tablespoon lumps onto a baking sheet (cover with foil or parchment first) and freeze that way. Once the balls are frozen, you can then transfer them to a freezer bag.

      • Herka says:

        Where in the world do you buy your onions? Here you can get a whole 1kg net for 40 cents!

        • Yeah, my local grocery store can be kind of expensive, especially if I buy one at a time (which I do, on occasion).

          • Deborah says:

            Your recipe looks great but the budget is just not practical. I live in Toronto – chicken breast here is $7-10/lb. 2 oz of cream cheese would cost just under $1, and a can of diced tomatoes is about $1.29. I’m shocked at how cheap your groceries are.

          • Well, you have to also take into consideration the fact that Canadian dollars are not equal to U.S. dollars.

  36. Steph says:

    What do you think about sour cream instead of cream cheese? (thinking of what’s in my fridge at the moment.)

  37. In love! I sautéed shrimp in ghee, a little olive oil and minced garlic, seasoned with just a bit of s&p and then set it aside and started in with the original recipe. The only addition I made was to add some pancetta when sautéing the onions and garlic. Restaurant quality, for sure.

  38. Alison says:

    I’ve made this recipe a few times and love it. I have a poud of tortellini. Do you think it would work to double this sauce and use it with tortellini instead of the penne?

  39. Noemi says:

    I made this for dinner. So easy. I was a huge hit. My boys ate it up…..spinach and all.

  40. Alen says:

    Made this for some friends this evening, added in some scallops I already had, and used linguine instead of penne. A huge hit.

  41. Danielle says:

    I made this on Monday and it was so delightful! I invited my friend over to try with me, and for desert we had naan (also your recipe) coated with Nutella and whipped cream :) We loved it all.
    Next time I am going to sauté mushrooms with the onions and garlic and see what happens! Thanks for sparking my cooking curiosity again!
    You’ve saved me from the grasp of Ronald McDonald!

  42. Dana says:

    Can you add a little chicken or shrimp?

    • Yes, you can sauté them in the skillet before the onion and garlic. For shrimp, definitely remove them from the skillet after they turn opaque, then add them back in at the end. Shrimp overcook quickly, so you don’t want to leave them in the skillet the whole time.

  43. Clarissa says:

    Love this dish, have the ingredients to make it for a second time.

  44. Made this last night!! Was a HUGE hit with the husband (and me too!) So simple and amazing. I used herb and garlic cream cheese instead of regular to try out! So soo good

  45. Sammy says:

    Made this recipe using a jar of homemade tomato puree instead of the diced tomatoes/paste/water combo. My boyfriend hates tomatoes, but he said he likes it, and if it passes the boyfriend test, you know it’s good :)

  46. Made this last night. It was super easy and super delicious!! I’m so excited about the left overs!!!! :) Thank you for the great recipe!

  47. UniversityStudentOfAntwerp says:

    Hey, I love this recipe.
    I have a lot of frozen spinach in my freezer,
    would it be possible to use this in the dish instead of fresh?
    I am a bit worried about the extra water it would produce in the dish, could you give me some tips about that?

    • If you thaw the spinach in the microwave first, you can squeeze most of the moisture out with your hands (it’s fairly quick). That being said, the frozen spinach will have a different texture than fresh and you need to make sure not to use frozen chopped spinach because that will be in super small pieces. :)

    • Jenn says:

      I used canned spinach, and that worked well. I did not even know they made canned spinach until I came across some at my local Dollar Store. I think I actually prefer the canned spinach to fresh in this dish because it isn’t bulky, but it’s also not in tiny pieces like frozen spinach. It also tasted great. With some extra olive oil, parmesan cheese and salt added to the finished product, this is seriously a restaurant quality dish!

  48. dweeblebum says:

    Lisa:
    You could use soy or oat cream, and just leave out the parmesan.

    OP:
    For your can opener troubles http://world4.info/can-opener-gws-finland/ (or search for “finnish can opener” if the link doesn’t work).

  49. It’s a blustery cold day here in CT and I fell asleep. I needed to feed my family and needed something quick and good. There are always canned tomatoes and pasta in the pantry, and I just brought home spinach last night. I found you with Google, search terms spinach and pasta. My family all agreed that this is a keeper. Thank you so much for sharing.

  50. Lauren says:

    I just discovered your website and I’m a fan already! Yesterday I made your feta spinach grilled cheese (delicious!) so today I wanted to use the leftover spinach and ended up cooking this dish. It was awesome, even my boyfriend, who usually doesn’t like vegetarian stuff, loved it! By the way, I used two ladles of the penne-water to bind the sauce, the starch in the water does the trick perfectly :)

  51. Cathy says:

    This recipe is super yummy and easy!
    Would it freeze well in individual portions or would the pasta be weird after?

    • I freeze pasta a lot and it’s great. I would worry a little about the cream cheese sauce, though. That doesn’t always freeze/thaw so well.

  52. Looks amazing. Would it turn out okay leaving out the dairy? Or do you have any suggestions for replacing the dairy, for someone who can’t eat it?

    • Well, the dairy really is what makes this recipe unique. Leaving it out or replacing it would kind of turn it into a different recipe all together. That being said, a plain tomato & spinach pasta wouldn’t be terrible, but I think I’d add some red pepper flakes or something to make it more interesting. :)

  53. Matt says:

    Great recipe, super easy to make and it’s delicious. I added some cooked hot italian sausage to the sauce before adding the spinach and pasta. In regards to the can opener, did someone try to use it to hammer in a nail? Because that’s what my roommate did with ours.

  54. Karen says:

    So good! I added chicken and my husband and I both loved this recipe! I can’t wait to make it again.

  55. Melis says:

    This was absolutely fantastic!!! It tasted sooo fresh and wonderful, and only took about a half hour to make! Glorious!

  56. Thuy says:

    came across this on reddit, decided to try it…OMG it’s so yummyyy!!! Love~ and i’m an extremely picky eater! :D

  57. Julia says:

    This recipe is simply awesome. I have made it many times for my husband and I and he always comments how good it is. Thanks for sharing!

  58. Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious!! Super easy too. I’ll be making it again for sure!

  59. Mola says:

    As a broke student, I would like to thank you. This is all I have. Made myself a pot to last for the week.

  60. Liss says:

    this sounds awesome- I am making this for dinner.. wonder if I could use fresh tomatoes instead of the canned?

    • You can, but you’ll want to cook them down a bit until they get a little saucy. Also, you may need to add some salt to make up for what is in canned tomatoes.

  61. Annette says:

    I made this tonight. Delicious. My husband thought it was one of the best recipes ever. I did dink around with the recipe. Added about 1/4 cup of the Sangiovese wine I was drinking, used frozen spinach loose in bag since it’s all I had, added some chopped mushrooms I needed to use up to the onion garlic mixture after 3 minutes but before I added tomatoes. I didn’t have paste so I used a bit of tomato sauce, Better than Bouillon 1/2 tsp and a ladle of the pasta water.

  62. Ahhh!!! Made this last night!!! LOVED IT!!! Will be adding it to my recipe book!

  63. Aupton14 says:

    Made this last night and loved it! Will be making it again :)

  64. Sarah says:

    I’m thinking of making this tonight but have a couple of questions. Do you mean grated parmesan as in the kind that is crumbly and comes in a jar, or actual cheese using a grater? I could use either.

    Also, do you think using the multi-flavoured pasta would work well? I recently found some boxes of the kind with regular, tomato, and spinach pasta on sale for $1 each and it seems like it might complement this recipe perfectly, but I’m wondering if it would be overwhelming.

    • I used the kind that comes in a jar, but if you have a block of parmesan, you could use that too (it’s much more expensive, though). I think the multi-flavored pasta would be just fine. :)

  65. rosie Hamm says:

    Made this today, it was delicious and very healthy.

  66. Hi Beth –

    I made this recipe once before with the exact ingredients and it was excellent (and the only time I convinced my roommate to try my cooking, haha)!

    I was going to make it again this weekend but I only have frozen spinach on hand – do you think I can substitute it for the fresh spinach and if so would I have to make any alterations to the recipe?

    Thanks a bunch!

    • You can, although the texture will be a bit more stringy. Also, if you get “chopped” frozen spinach, be prepared for little tiny bits of spinach throughout, rather than larger pieces. I’d also recommend getting the kind that comes frozen loose in a bag rather than frozen into a block because the block kind has a lot of water and will need to be thawed and squeezed before adding to the pasta. :)

  67. Harry says:

    Really nice recipe. Replaced Parmesan and cream cheese with yogurt and result turned out to be equally good and less heavy.

  68. This was tasty! I warily chose a 12-inch skillet for it, though, and that was probably unnecessary–my 10-inch cast iron would have worked just fine.

    I imagine some pepperoni slices would go nicely in the mix. Next time I make it, I’ll give that a shot.

  69. Yuuum. My roommate gave me a great tip- take a generous spoonful or two of the pasta water and dump into sauce, and let it reduce back down. It adds some starch and makes the sauce stick to the pasta instead of puddling in the bottom of your bowl!

  70. Michelle says:

    What a great recipe! I tried this out as a quick dinner on the weekend and my family loved it so much that I’m doing a repeat performance for a party! Thanks for sharing with us all :)

  71. anonymous says:

    I made this for lunch the other day and then again tonight for supper. I used whole wheat penne tonight and although it was more filling, I dont think ill do that again. Both my hubby and I love this pasta!

  72. GirlWithGlasses says:

    OMGGG. So good!!! I used chunky tomato sauce from a jar, added some sauteed shrimp, broccoli and chopped up half a red pepper. I added the whole box of pasta and it diluted some of the flavor but it was still very very good. That was just me being a little piggy. Next time I’ll stick with your measurement lol

    Thank you so much for this!

  73. Joanne says:

    I made this tonight and it was delicious! I added some sauteed boneless chicken breast chunks for added protein. It was on sale this week.

    Is that half a 9 oz bag of spinach or a total of 9 oz? My bag of baby spinach was 10 oz, but I added all of it and boy was it hard to get it into the sauce in my saute pan. Maybe I just need to use a larger pan!

  74. Laura K says:

    Made this tonight and it was great! I accidentally doubled the spinach and like it that way. Extra iron!

  75. I made this pasta tonight, and it tasted amazing! The only downside — my sauce was much more watery, which I attribute to the fact that I used half & half instead of cream cheese. Maybe next time, I will omit that 1/2 cup water and see what happens.

  76. LIsa Marie says:

    Amazing. My new go to sauce :) I even add a protein (chix Shrimp)

  77. This was so delicious! Instead of using canned tomatoes and tomato paste I just used half a jar of tomato sauce. The cream cheese was perfect — creamy but not too rich. Will make this again!

  78. Heather E says:

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I subbed creme fraiche for the cream cheese, as that’s what I had on hand and it worked beautifully! Quick and easy too- love it!

  79. My husband and I love this recipe! We have made it several times, and we enjoy putting different proteins in it, like Italian sausage, or white beans.

  80. Peggy says:

    The pasta looks great, I can’t wait to try it.
    As far as your can opener issues, I went through at least a half dozen can openers that always broke at the worst times and then I bought a Pampered Chef can opener, best purchase I ever made!

    • I Had fun making this dish last night and it smelled so good while cooking the sauce from scratch… I used a bit more garlic than it called for and a bit more Parmesan and added shrimp and used white wine instead of water… it turned out wonderful…

  81. Theresa Conrad says:

    Made this as a side dish for my husband who hates cream cheese. He never noticed! Bonus points for sneaking in the spinach too! Thanks for this recipe, it is easy and delicious and I will be recommending it.

  82. Michelle says:

    This looks delicious! Bought all the ingredients and plan on making it sometime this week. I was wondering if you have any tips for storing/reheating pastas like this so they’re good the next time you have them? I didn’t see anything in your how-tos. Thanks!!

    • Honestly I don’t do anything special. :) I just portion it out into single serving resealable containers (like Ziploc or Glad) and then use the microwave to reheat. Leftovers are never exactly the same as when they were first cooked, but they’re usually still totally delicious! :)

  83. Andrea says:

    This recipe is definitely a keeper! I made it last night and added sautéed shrimp seasoned with garlic and Creole seasoning. My meat and potato man loved it : ) Don’t hesitate in making this; it was easy and delicious.

  84. Made this for dinner this evening, the BEST pasta ever! So simple and easy and yet so yummy :)

    Love it!

  85. Samantha says:

    Made this last night, and just had some for leftovers! Oh, was this good! It was so easy to make, and very flavorful. I’ve actually never made a pasta sauce from scratch before, but this one was delicious. I’ll be making this again. Mmmm.

  86. Darlene says:

    Made this tonight, was Fabulous! Speaking of which, about how many calories would you say is in this awesome dish?
    doesn’t have to be exact but a round about clue would be most appreciative! :)

    • I’m not sure, really, BUT there are several websites online that let you enter ingredients for a recipe and it will calculate it out for you. :)

  87. Misha says:

    Can the cream cheese be substituted for something else to add creaminess to it? Would plain yoghurt work?

    • I don’t think plain yogurt would be quite creamy enough. I would try a mix of yogurt (for tanginess) and liquid cream (for the creaminess).

      • Misha says:

        Thank you! :) For some reason, my stomach just doesn’t handle cream cheese well.

  88. Lindsey says:

    This is one of my family’s favorites. My toddler even loves it (which is really saying something.) There’s no fresh spinach here lately, so I’ve been using frozen spinach sautéed with the onions and garlic. Tastes amazing. Thanks for the recipe!

  89. This was so yummy and easy to make!! Next time I’ll add more garlic thought. I couldn’t really taste it.

  90. leslie says:

    Did you mean grated parmesan like the powdery stuff in the plastic container or shredded parmesan? Wanna make sure I have all the right stuff before I cook this!

    • I used grated (the powdery kind), but you could use shredded, too. Shredded is just more expensive. :)

      • I used some shredded asiago & parmesan that happened to be on sale & it was delightful! Love opportunity buying.

  91. Claire says:

    Just made this and it is delicious! Officially on my go-to recipe list.

  92. I found this recipe on Pinterest and through another website but this looks like it might be the original – so glad I found it! I made this a feature recipe on my recipe review blog page and a couple of changes that I personally would make WHEN I make it again (it was fantastic!) You can check it out on http://nikkieandbabies.blogspot.com/2014/07/what-i-ate-wednesday-creamy-tomato-and.html

    Also, these are fab photos and I may or may not be drooling over this recipe again! :-)

  93. im 15 and just made this for my mom and shes a picky eater and she loved it and i felt so proud :D so good!

  94. Slauditory says:

    This is excellent! I used whole wheat spaghetti instead and puréed the diced tomatoes (for a picky eater). Very good!

  95. Gabby says:

    Made this tonight. I found it a little acidic so I added 1/2 tbs of sugar. And I added more oregano and basil, but that is just me. I also had some shrimp in the freezer so I threw that in too. Really great and will definitely make again.

  96. Mercedes says:

    Made it twice: once with spinach and the other with sausage bits. Both times the sauce was absolutely delicious! Thanks!

  97. Wendy says:

    Found this on Pinterest – thanks! Made it tonight; great recipe!

  98. My toddler ate this even though it has “green things” in it. That speaks highly for the recipe! :)

  99. rdkassie says:

    I just made it omg it was delicious…my husband told me I bought those refrigerated food an heated it up for him lol…I told him no it was all me from scratch..thanks ☺☺☺

  100. Alli says:

    This was cheap, easy and SO delicious. Thanks for a great recipe!

  101. Amanda says:

    This was delicious and so easy to make! My husband loved it and thought I was a chef coming up with all these amazing recipes (which all came from budget bytes!) thanks Beth!!! I’m trying Cajun chicken pasta tonight which I see from your comments is worth it! Thanks again !!

  102. Chelsea says:

    Favorite recipe I’ve made from this site so far! The sauce was so delicious, I will definitely be making it again.

  103. Luga Groff says:

    I’m making this for dinner tonight, but adding boneless chicken pieces to it. That way it’s a one pot meal… thanks for the recipe. I’ve make something similar to this but w/asparagus instead of spinach… you can also add broccoli or sliced zucchini.☺

  104. Whitney says:

    Just made this, and it’s delicious! I’d highly recommend putting a little feta and sriracha (if you like a little spice) on top. Super good!

  105. Shelby says:

    Just wanted to let you know it looks like some of your content was stolen and used on another site without credit. :( I noticed this recipe off hand, not sure if there are more on their site of yours or not. Looks like the entire website is stolen content.

    http://best-foood.blogspot.com/2014/01/creamy-tomato-spinach-pasta.html

  106. Danyel says:

    Our vegetarian daughter is home from college for the summer and I’ve been looking for tasty recipes for all of us. This was really easy and really good and I love having the spinach in there for extra vitamins. My only “complaint” would be the portion size. Half a box of pasta for four people might work if you’re doing one of those tiny meals, four to five times a day, diets. We, unfortunately, are not. I doubled this for five of us.

  107. Lacey says:

    I found this on a friends Pinterest board. She just had her first baby and I am bringing her a meal. I chose this dish because it’s not time consuming and sounds amazing! I want to bring her salad, bread and wine as well. any suggestions that would pair well with this dish? She tends to like red wine and all of the wine pairings that I’ve found seem to be white wine? Is there a way to get around this with red wine?

  108. I saw this recipe on Pinterest but it looks like somebody has ripped off your photos and recipe. http://inspiredreamer.com/creamy-tomato-and-spinach-pasta/
    Sad when this happens. I read the comments on the other site and someone mentioned that it looked like your recipe. I thought I would let you know.

  109. Tiffany says:

    This was amazing!!!! Perfect! There is really nothing else to say but thank you and I will be trying your other recipes! Thank you again!

  110. Nichole says:

    I just made this dish for dinner again. It’s amazing! :)

  111. I sell Pampered Chef products and would love to send you one of our amazing can openers. I laughed so hard when I scrolled down only to see a mutilated tomato paste can ;) I have seen this before in my own home. I no longer have that problem. Send me your mailing address and I will send you one for FREE that is guaranteed to work properly and you will never have a sharp edge of a can to deal with a gain. I only ask for one small request and that is a great easy recipe for Cashew Chicken. One of my favorites that I have never tried to make at home :D

    • Thanks for the offer, but I’ve since bought a can opener that works amazingly well! :) I’ll work on that cashew chicken recipe, though!

  112. DanielleAS says:

    Hello, this recipe looks awesome! I didn’t see it posted so long ago. Any tips on making it heart healthier? I’m serving it with a salad, but I’d like to make it a little healthier for those in my family that are older and have some restrictions!

    • Well, the only heart un-healthy thing in this recipe is the cream cheese, but it’s only 2 oz. for the whole recipe, so it’s actually pretty good! :)

    • Oops, and the parmesan. You can cut back on the parmesan by half and that should help.

  113. Crystal says:

    I’m not a super chef or anything, but mine actually looked like the picture! It was very good, and actually tasted better reheated the next day! Very easy to make as well!

  114. Jamie Lynn says:

    Delicious!! Added some grilled chicken breast. This is definitely something I’ll make again and often!!

  115. Crystal says:

    I really enjoyed this meal! I used spinach pasta and I also added some mozzarella cheese when I served it. It was a great meal, and not too heavy. Will make again…thanks for the recipe!!

  116. Jenn says:

    Oh, yuummm. Made this for dinner tonight. It’s delish!!! I used a can of fire roasted tomatoes, and it was just so good! :)

    Yet another winner!!

  117. Jessica says:

    Added leftover chicken- was great!

  118. Aileen says:

    Seriously this is one of the best tasting pasta recipes I’ve ever made, thank you! I’m trying to curb my pasta eating, so rather than make this with penne I added chopped chicken breast, zucchini, and yellow squash. So. Dang. Tasty.

  119. Meghan says:

    So good! The sauce has killer flavor without being too heavy or over filling. And for only about 300 calories a serving, win-win-win!!

  120. Raquel says:

    How many calories are in this? I really want to make it!

  121. britney says:

    just made this tonight and it was amazing! i have bookmarked so many recipes on your site. glad i found it :)

  122. Jeana says:

    I made this for my husband tonight and he is a big food critic and he absolutely loved it, as did I! I added some chicken breast and served it with some extra yummy garlic bread because the sauce was so good. Thanks for the great receipe!

  123. Lynn says:

    Made this tonight and it was amazing! Definitely a keeper.

  124. Rachel says:

    This was a hit. Once I forgot the parmesan and it was still good.

  125. Whitney says:

    I added grilled chicken and it was a hit at my house!!! Will be making it again! YUM!!!

  126. LYO-Town says:

    I must admit, this was much better than I expected, given the simplicity of it! I diced canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, doubled the spices and added a few chopped sundried tomatoes, but otherwise made it true to the recipe and it was really tasty. Will definitely make it again!

  127. I was making this and then saw the cream cheese was gone! So I added three triangles of laughing cow creamy Swiss. I didn’t add parm either since it too was gone. (Major cheese fans at my house). It was still super good served with Raviolis.

  128. Eating this right now. Added fire roasted diced tomatoes instead of regular and it has a nice little bite to it!

  129. Jessica says:

    Made this earlier in the week and was a hit with the whole family. The picky 4 year old even loved it! I can’t seem the click the 5th star, but I do give it 5.

  130. Julia says:

    this came out scrumptious. made a couple meals for the week! perfect for this freezing weather.

  131. Emily says:

    I just made this tonight, and it was incredible! So easy and so delicious!

  132. Angela says:

    Fantastic! A great way to get my kids to eat spinach and actually like it! I drained and added a can of black beans at the end. This recipe is a keeper!

  133. Katie M says:

    I made this tonight and added chicken. My husband and 2 year old are much obliged! Thanks!

  134. Katie says:

    I just discovered your site and have been making dinner from it a couple of times a week! I’ve always been too intimidated to cook because of how much I thought it would cost me, so this has been perfect!

    This recipe was delicious – I had some chicken that I had grilled the day before so I just threw it in at the end, and had a delicious meal!

  135. Ashley says:

    I couldn’t be more suprised. I just made this, and omg… most delicious meal I’ve ever made! Quick, easy and amazing. This would make a perfect date night meal. I will definitely be making this again!

  136. Kristi says:

    So excited! Trying this tonight! Silly question though, for the Parmesan cheese.. Should it be fresh or like the kind you’d sprinkle over spaghetti?

  137. Malin says:

    Both me and my husband loved this! It’s definitely a new favourite!

  138. Jennifer says:

    SO GOOD! I would also double the recipe to use the whole pound of pasta and have extras because this was such a good recipe! It is definitely going to be a go-to in our household! Delish!

  139. Lisa says:

    This is such a delicious recipe! For the first time possibly ever, I had every ingredient for a recipe and decided to make this. It was such a hit with my husband and 14 year-old son too. Wonderful flavor and I’m looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow. I used gluten-free penne but that was the only change I made. Thank you so much. I will be making this again.

  140. Tess says:

    I made this a few nights ago and it was amazing! Thank you for sharing! My picky 3 and 4 year old boys cleaned their plate!!

  141. Kelli says:

    Loved it! I will make this again and again. Just next time, I will make a double batch. Yum!

  142. Elizabeth says:

    Yeah! I am trying to clear out my fridge and had some opened cream cheese (4 oz), big clamshell of spinach, and some opened pasta sauce. Pretty much a free dinner using stuff I already used/opened. I think my daughter will love it! Thanks!

  143. Nubia says:

    I think I have everything I need to make this except for the spinach and cream cheese and tomato paste. Can I use heavy cream instead of cream cheese? Will it still be yummy without the tomato paste?

    • Yes, you can definitely use heavy cream in place of the cream cheese. Start with just a splash and add more as needed. I think if you leave out the tomato paste it will just be a regular cream sauce, which seems like it would be good, but I haven’t tried it to know for sure. :)

  144. Rebecca says:

    Loved this!

  145. shikha says:

    Looks amazing…i will have to try this…will it be possible for you to include calories per serve in your recepies.

    Cheers

  146. Tess says:

    This recipe looks great! What do you think about freezing servings and saving it for busy days?

    • Although I haven’t actually tried it, I think it would work. The only potential problems might be that it could get a little dry in the freezer because sometimes pasta absorbs more moisture as it is stored and sometimes cream based sauces separate upon thawing… but I think it would work.

  147. I love this recipe. I have already made it twice!

  148. Hannah says:

    This dish was a HUGE hit with my family! Super easy to make and absolutely delicious. Just ate the left overs for lunch and it’s just as good the second time around.

    I highly recommend!

  149. Jackie says:

    Thanks so much for this! It was super simple to make and will be even easier the next time around. It is so good!!

    It made so much though that I am wondering how I am going to eat it all. Is it possible to freeze this pasta dish? Any tips on how you would do it without the pasta getting too mushy?

    • I don’t think I would do anything special to freeze it. Because the sauce isn’t super liquidy, I don’t think you’ll have too much of a problem with the pasta getting mushy (it won’t be anything like how mushy canned pasta is, for instance).

  150. Fast + tasty = happy flatmates. Nice one.

  151. Can you freeze this?

  152. Brenna says:

    Awesome meal. This dish reminds me of one that I ate over and over at a place in the Totem Lake neighborhood in Washington state called Cafe Veloce ~ their Quatro Formaggio. OMG ~ same sauce!! Thank you for bringing me the recipe!!

  153. Alexandra says:

    I’ve made this quite a few times now. Absolutely delicious. Only thing I do differently is cook sweet Italian sausage with it. Sooooo good!

  154. I never tought spinach, pasta and tomato would have been a match so phenomenal! I just made it for lunch and me and my mum loved it!
    Greetings from Italy!

  155. I made this last night – fantastic! There wasn’t even any leftovers!

  156. Wendi says:

    My daughter made this recipe and the whole family loved it! Made a meal out of it by topping it with cooked chicken and a splash of olive oil. Easy and quick, but most of all delicious!

  157. Love this recipe! Tonight I tried it out with gnocchi and it was delicious.

  158. Hi! I just wanted to let you know I featured this dish on my daily dinner ideas blog, What to Make for Dinner Tonight. Come check ‘er out!

    I’m a huge fan of your blog and can’t wait to share my “Budget Gourmet” eBook with you :)

    http://whattomakefordinnertonight.com/creamy-tomato-spinach-pasta/

  159. angelica says:

    Hi i wanted to try this recipe the only issue i have is i dont have tomato paste. I do have spaghetti sauce and tons of canned tomatoes. What do you recommend?

    • I would try a can of the diced tomatoes and maybe 8 oz. of the tomato sauce. The tomato paste just helps thicken up the sauce a bit, so adding some tomato sauce may help in the same way.

  160. This recipe is so delicious, I blogged about it! This one is going in my recipe box. The only thing I changed is that I used cream cheese from a tub, because that’s all I had on hand. Still tasted great to me! I served it with garlic bread and a side salad. I can’t wait to add this dish in my supper rotation.

  161. This recipe looks really yummy and I’d like to try it out! But my family are a bunch of meat-lovers. What kind of meat would you recommend to go with this?

    • You could add some shredded meat from a rotisserie chicken for a super quick fix. Shrimp would also be great!

      • Thank you so much for a fast answer! I suppose I’ll go for the super quick fix this time.

  162. Enybe says:

    This is a pretty good recipe. We enjoyed it. I like how much more spinach we are eating now since we started making your recipes!

    Thank you!

  163. This recipe is delicious!! I followed this recipe as written and I am in love! I love spinach and with the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and cream cheese is simply divine. I served the dish with a side salad and garlic bread. I cannot wait to make this again!! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  164. Caroline says:

    Had very little in the pantry so when I found this I was thrilled that I had all the ingredients. I used fat free sour cream (instead of cream cheese) and spaghetti sauce (instead of tomato paste) with 1/4 cup water to get more juice for the sauce. I added small chopped eggplant and green peppers to the onions + garlic mix which gave it a lot of volume and helped clear out my crisper before heading out of town. Overall delicious, easy + so quick to make! Thank you!

  165. I’m going to have to do this with spaghetti squash rather than the pasta (wheat allergy over here – bummer!) and either some ground beef or chicken. I’m thinking chicken would be best for this. Awesome, thank you! The pasta thing and the cream cheese are all I have to change. That’s rare for us!

  166. Rebecca says:

    Loved this recipe! I put a cooked, chopped up chicken breast in with the onions and garlic before adding the tomatoes. Other than that, I followed the recipe to a T. Thank you for the recipe!

  167. Followed the recipe to a “T” last night and it was excellent.

  168. Natalie says:

    Made this last night and it was delicious! Added shitake mushrooms and a little steak I found in my freezer. I use your site all the time. I have made over 50 recipes from it over the last few years and they are always a success! I meant to use some of the used starchy pasta water for the half a cup needed, but then forgot and dumped it in the colander :( Do you ever do that I see it done a lot, but have never tried it myself?

  169. Not that this recipe needs another glowing review, but oh well – IT’S AMAZING! And sooo simple. I’ll be making this constantly.

  170. Stephanie says:

    Yummy! I added portobello mushrooms that had to be cooked. Next time I would add chicken for a little protein. It’s delicious with some crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

  171. After pinning this recipe, I just knew I had to try it! I followed your ingredients and directions to the T… It came out wonderful!! My husband’s exact words were “you did good, babe”. Thank you for sharing this ANAZING recipe! Can’t wait to try your others. :)
    P.S. I added Italian on the side.

  172. Jackie says:

    This was a delightful dish and it lasted us through most of a very crazy work week.
    I added a few shrimp and some mushrooms.
    Yum!

  173. anja says:

    Made this last week. It was sooooo good and on the table in less than 20min!!
    I used 3 fresh tomatoes, chopped up, instead of the can diced.
    Will be making it for my in-laws on Sunday.
    Thanks for sharing!

  174. Lola says:

    We just made this for dinner tonight and loved it! It was so creamy and flavorful, and a breeze to make. I added a bit of vodka right after the garlic and onion softened and it came out incredibly yummy. Thanks for the recipe!

  175. LaVonne says:

    Made this on Monday. I used heavy cream instead of cream cheese and added shrimp. OMG it was so good! I have made several things from the website and have yet to be disappointed(for me that is really saying something) will absolutely be getting the cookbook.

  176. Rachael says:

    This was crazy good and my friends I had over thought I was a rock star. I also had half a head of riddichio and use it in a double recipe. I also used 2 qt s of jarred tomatoes from my FIL’s garden and it was incredibly good! Here’s a tip I learned recently regarding the tomato paste. Instead of buying it in the can like we all always have, and end of not using the entire can before it goes bad, buy it in the TUBE. It lasts WAY longer and is way easier to measure. It’s in the same aisle as the rest of the tomatoes. I got mine at publix.

  177. Tiffany says:

    Do you think shrimp would be ok mixed in with this? I’m having family over tonight and I want to make this.

  178. Kevin says:

    First time saying anything on this website, usually i’m just a lurker, but THIS IS SUCH A GOOD LAYED BACK RECIPE!!!!! Lol I had to post this after I made this. It was just a flat italian tasting dish. And by flat I don’t mean its flavorless. It’s just so..neutral, like sitting out on a porch watching the sunset or sunrise. Can’t describe. Mouth is full. As did others, I added a tad bit more parmesan and cream cheese. Next up I’m trying the Brocolli and Fettucine Alfredo on this site of course.

  179. Randi says:

    Loved it and so did meat and pots husband! Added chicken that I baked in the oven and it came out great!

  180. Kierston says:

    This was DELICIOUS!!! I have been following your blog for a while now and I LOVE the stuff you come up with!!!
    –Your ever loyal fan,
    Kierston

  181. cindy lee says:

    Spotted this on pintrest looked so yummy I ran out to get the stuff to make it up. I am not a big fan of those spices so I did not use any of them. I mixed red bell pepper with the onion. I wilted the the spinach with the pasta water. (great idea). I also used whipping cream. I used tricolor bow tie pasta as well. It turned out very well. The only thing i will do different is chop the spinach a bit, because I choked twice while eating it. Even my parents enjoyed this. It was easy to make (my dad did most of the work). I will make again. I got all of this under 8 dollars. Next time I will shop ahead when the sales are on and make it even cheaper.

  182. Wow!!! I made this last night and I am SO happy that I did, because it was delicious! I ended up doubling it, because I hate having extra pasta boxes in my pantry, and I am am happy I did because now I can eat more left over tonight!!! It was seriously awesome! Thanks for sharing! Allyson@Domestic Superhero

  183. Mary says:

    It’s Delish but any suggestions on making the sauce a little sweeter?

    • Try stirring in a teaspoon or so of brown sugar (add it to the sauce before the noodles are added). That will also help neutralize the acid from the tomatoes.

  184. Delish! I made this tonight & used ricotta instead of cream cheese & added fresh basil at the end! :)

  185. so when i’m measuring out the dry pasta, how many cups is that?? thanks.

    • I usually buy 1 lb. (16 oz.) packages of pasta and then just estimate half of the package instead of trying to measure it out, but if you wanted to do cups, it would probably be about 2 cups of dry pasta. The measurement is different for each shape of pasta because they fit differently in the measuring cups, but I found this really great chart on the Barilla website that gives conversions!

  186. Misty says:

    Thanks! This was so delicious! My 9 year old son didn’t even complain about eating spinach. I love the cream cheese addition. Yummy!

  187. Jessica says:

    Sounds exactly like my favorite dish at Noodles!! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Mary says:

      Made this tonight and it was awesome. Tastes just like the Penne Rosa from Noodles! Next time I’m going to add mushrooms.

  188. I just tried this pasta as part of my meal plan this week and it rocks! Thanks for the recipe!

  189. Kate Baum says:

    Had this tonight – oh my gosh, so good and SO EASY for someone who’s a terrible cook. I used only half an onion (not a big onion fan) and fresh basil from my plant, and it was great. Can’t wait to make for friends and family.

  190. Kristen says:

    This was delicious! The sauce was a little bland for me, so i added garlic powder, onion powder, Penzeys pizza seasoning, and a dash of marjoram. But overall, this was a hit, and my guy doesn’t normally enjoy creamy tomato sauces. I on the other hand love them, so I’m thrilled that he said I could make this again! Thanks!

  191. This was YUMMY! thank you!

  192. Sarah says:

    About how many cups is one serving. Trying to plan for a certain amount of people…kids and adults.
    Looking forward to making this! Thanks! :-)

  193. pmik says:

    Hi Beth!! I’m going to try this recipe for the fam tonight, but will definitely need more than 1/2 lb of pasta…for 1 – 1.5 lbs, do you suggest doubling all the ingredients? or more of some less of others?

    I’m also going to add some sautéed mushrooms, I think it would work really well!

    • Yes, I would multiply all of the ingredients by the same factor so that you end up with the same thing, just bigger volume :)

  194. Jenna says:

    This was so quick and easy! Used what I had on hand, so medium shells instead of penne, tomato soup paste mixed with a jar of sun dried tomato pesto, all the fresh ingredients, and mascarpone…SO good!! Thanks for the idea, I will have a great couple of lunches this week!

  195. Andreanne says:

    I made this last night for me and my boyfriend (who usually hates those kind of pasta sauce) and it was a real success! Because tomatoes were on sale this week at my local grocery store, I actually switch the can tomatoes for some real italian tomatoes. I loved how the tomatoes became veggies in the pasta rather than just a part of the sauce!

  196. joann says:

    Would adding some italian sausage taste OK with this recipe? Thanks!

    • Yes, I think that would be delicious!

    • Monica says:

      I was just thinking the exact same thing, as my boyfriend’s a carnivore and I was trying to figure out how I would get him to eat this. I’ll be trying this tonight (half with sausage for him)!

    • Sarah says:

      I’ve made this recipe before and it was always great, but tonight I added some italian sausage and it took it up to the next level. Great suggestion!

  197. Katie says:

    Made this just the other night, love it when I happen to have every ingredient on hand! This was so tasty and so easy to whip up! Perfect for a filling and hearty meal that takes no time after work! The boyfriend loved it – thank you!

  198. Catherine says:

    About that can opener– check to see if the screw that the metal hinges on is loose. Mine sometimes loosens which causes the gears to not line up

    • Awww, I wish I would have checked that before :P I already bought a new one (that came with a lifetime warranty, so hopefully I’m good!).

  199. Amanda says:

    another home run Beth! thanks so much!

  200. I know the recipe asks for canned tomatoes, but I have a ton of fresh tomatoes I just bought! Should I just use a couple tomatoes and add water to make up for the lack of juice?

    • Yes, that would probably work. Canned tomatoes can sometimes have a slightly more concentrated flavor, but I think it will still be good.

  201. Stacy says:

    This dish got a “spectacular!” from my partner. I mostly followed the recipe but didn’t have cream cheese so I just used cream instead. If I used cream again, I’d cut down on how much water I put in, to make the sauce a bit thicker.
    I was also short on fresh spinach so I heated up a bit of frozen spinach and threw it in along with the fresh to bulk it up a bit.

    Delicious, quick meal! Would be perfect with a big hunk of garlic bread…Thanks for the recipe!

  202. Maddi says:

    Where does one buy spinach for $.50!?! I pay at least $6 for 9 oz!! (Mind you I live in NYC)

    • Yeah, I mentioned that in the post because it was an insanely good sale price! The bags were 99 cents a pop! Woot! Lucky me :) You can use frozen spinach if you have to. I can sometimes find the huge bags of spinach (they call it “cooking spinach” but it’s still just baby spinach) for almost the same price as the small salad-sized bags (about $3).

  203. Steph says:

    yet another home run, Beth! my boyfriend, my sister, and I scarfed the whole recipe down with some garlic bread! I think the next time I make it, I’ll use the crockpot marinara I made from your recipe and just add the spinach and cream cheese, so it will be even more budget-friendly.

    Oh, and I added some sun-dried tomatoes, too. phenomenal!

  204. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the recipe, Beth!
    I had something similar to this once, but with the addition of chopped bacon mixed in. Made for a “BLT” pasta dish. Seriously good :)

  205. Just finished making (and eating) this. One of those rare web recipes where I didn’t have to alter anything — it was delicious exactly as written.

  206. So… I just got referred to this blog and LOVE it. I have all of these ingredients and will be trying it. Question: Where do you get tomatoes for $.59 a can?!

    • It’s a new generic brand that my local grocery store is carrying… I wanted to use the fire roasted diced tomatoes of the same brand, but they were double the cost!

  207. Marti Slaughter says:

    Would kale work as well as spinach? I have kidney stones and spinach is a no-no for me (I know, it sucks!!).

    • Yep, kale would probably work well. It might take a few more minutes for it to wilt down, but other than that it should be fine :)

  208. Gypsy says:

    Love your recipes! Don’t remember how I came across your site, but it’s wonderful, smart, and practical. Great idea! Every meal is so easy, cheap, and delicious! If I’m ever stumped on what to cook, I just see what you’re up to since your food obsessions are right in line with mine. Keep it up homegirl! You’ve earned your spot in my bookmarks bar!

  209. Janet says:

    Made this last night and it was sooo good! I used a mix of chevre and cream cheese, and fettuccine for the noodles, and added a handful of chopped sundried tomatoes. Really, really delicious and full of flavor! Awesome recipe, thanks!

  210. Allyson Kelly says:

    Another winner! Thank you!!

  211. Melissa says:

    Yum! This was dinner tonight and the whole family loved it. Great recipe, thank you!

  212. Lynsey says:

    Would feta sprinkled on top be any good do you think? I have some feta I need to use up!

  213. Lara says:

    What are the odds some plain Greek yogurt could replace the cream cheese? I just don’t happen to have any cheese on hand! (it’s a very sad situation in my fridge these days)

    • Hmm, if it’s full fat Greek yogurt, go for it! But, I’m guessing it’s not ;) It probably won’t be quite as creamy and might make the sauce more acidic, but if you’re not expecting the results to be exactly the same it might be okay. If you try it out, let us know how it tastes!

  214. Melting cream cheese into a marinara sauce is one of my favorite kitchen tricks! THE BEST pasta sauce.

  215. Think I’ll make this one later this week, I got some frozen sausages that would go well with it on the side.

    Also you should totally get one of those top-opening can-openers, I swear you’ll never go back to the old kind once you try one.

  216. Kelly says:

    Seriously the exact same thing happened to me with the can openers, so frustrating! I finally just spent a little bit more and got a nice one, I’ve had good luck so far!

  217. Joanna says:

    Hi there. Love your site! Do you think frozen, chopped spinach would work in this if I thawed and drained it? It’s so much cheaper than fresh and I always have some in my freezer.

    • It would probably be okay. Sometimes frozen chopped spinach tends to be in really small pieces, but I’d definitely do it if I needed to save a penny or two :) Try to get the frozen spinach that is loose in a bag rather than frozen into a block. It tends to have a better texture.

  218. Dang, love how east this is! Yum!

  219. This was great! Made it tonight with zuke instead of spinach. Easy and just a little more filling than my usual tomato sauce because of the cream.

  220. This looks really good! Everything except for the cream cheese, in fact. What would be good substitutes, or would this stand up without it?

    • A little bit of half and half or heavy cream will make the dish nice and creamy without using cream cheese. Try about 1/4 cup.

    • Craig says:

      I used 3 patties of Laughing Cow 35 calorie cream cheese. Low calorie, lower fat, and it was really delicious.

  221. Sarah says:

    This looks super yummy! Thinking of making this with some grilled chicken too.

  222. Stephen says:

    Definitely going to try this one and veganize it for my brother. We both work in an Italian restaurant and he is always so bummed he can’t eat anything there, but this’ll fix his wagon. I’m gunna try and cook the spinach with some white wine with the sauteed garlic and onions before putting it all in the sauce, which I definitely recommend if anyone wants to really dress this dish up. Nothing special, even Franzia will do.

    • Ruth S says:

      Would be good with Zucchini, too!

    • Emily says:

      If you have experience preparing vegan food you may already know this, but if you put a handful of raw cashews in a Vitamix with a splash of water or vegetable stock, you can use it in place of cream in almost anything. Vitamix is worth the investment for anyone, but I certainly couldn’t cook vegan without one.

  223. Kara says:

    Just made this for supper. I used more cream cheese and parmesan and it was sooooo good. I didn’t think I had anything for supper and then saw this recipe and knew I had all of the ingredients! Can’t wait to eat the leftovers!

  224. JHart says:

    Looks fabulous! I make a similar version with feta cheese, may have to try this one next week :- D

    Also, can opener recommendation…Pampered Chef. THE BEST can opener you will ever own. It’s worth the price.

  225. Katie says:

    This looks delicious – I can’t wait to try it! One way to prevent the spinach from flying out of the pan is to wilt for a few seconds in the microwave before adding it to the sauce. I just throw the spinach in a bowl and nuke for about 30 seconds. It brings down the volume of the spinach very quickly!

    • Gypsy says:

      Or put the spinach in the strainer, then pour the pasta and water over it. Wilts really nicely that way too.

  226. Anna N. says:

    Another great recipe, Beth! As for the can opener, I recommend investing in a top-opening can opener. They are more reliable and the mechanics stick out less so they are less likely to get banged up

  227. Looks great! I wonder if a chèvre goat cheese would work in place of the cream cheese? And buy a really good can opener, like an OXO one- lousy can openers are the pits!

    • Chevre would be *amazing* in this. …but then I love chevre in anything. ;) The first can opener that spontaneously broke was a good one. I had it for years and then suddenly one day it didn’t turn right. It was like a little elf snuck into my kitchen in the middle of the night and mis-matched the gears.

    • Hey Beth, instead of relying on a faulty can opener, why dont you buy tomato paste in a tube. In the long run its cheaper ’cause you keep it in the fridge after the 1st time you use it, & none of it ever gets wasted.

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