Mt. Tam Spinach and Cheese Pasta Gratin

Think of this as a pasta gratin with creamy cheese sauce, lots of spinach, lots of onions, and full of flavor.

About the recipe

Chef Charlie Parker of Oakland, CA describes this dish as “More like a gratin that has a creamy, liquid texture and subtle, rich flavor. The recipe calls for Mt. Tam cheese, a smooth triple-cream cow’s milk cheese with a mellow, earthy flavor reminiscent of white mushrooms. Order it online, or substitute another high-quality triple-cream cow’s milk cheese.

Simplified recipe

The original recipe was really great – you can’t go wrong with a pasta gratin with lots of onions, spinach, and a creamy cheese sauce. But it did seem very heavy on the cream – as in 4 cups of cream which in my opinion is a lot. It also asked for half pasta and the other half of 6 cups of country farm bread which gets toasted and mixed in with the pasta. Why? I’m not making a bread pudding am I? So I went ahead and modified the recipe to keep it just pasta, with less cream and loads of flavor. Give it a try!

Honey Mustard and white wine for elevated flavor

This pasta is floating in a delicious cream sauce that is flavored with loads of onions, garlic, spinach, thyme, and a touch of white wine and honey mustard. The honey mustard and wine really add wonderful tang and elevates the flavor profile of the gratin. Make sure you don’t skip these two ingredients.

Mt Tam Spinach and Cheese Pasta Gratin
modified recipe from Charlie Parker, Chef, Haven, Oakland, CA


  • 1lb small penne pasta
  • 1 lb. (500 g) spinach finely cut
    For the cream sauce:
  • 2 tbsp butter plus 1 tbp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 wheel Mt. Tam cheese or any triple cream soft cheese, rind removed and cheese cubed. about 1/2 – 1 cup
  • 1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • Chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp dijon honey mustard
  • Salt and black pepper


Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil and melt 2 tbsp butter. Add the onions and cook for about 8-10 min until onions are slightly browned. To the onions add the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Next add the white wine and mustard and cook the onions until the wine is half evaporated.

To the onions add the cut spinach, salt and pepper to taste. Cook spinach for 1-2 minutes until it’s tender.

To the spinach add the triple cream cheese and melt it into the spinach. Then add the cream and warm through. Add the cooked pasta and 1 cup Parmesan cheese and mix ingredients together. Taste the pasta and make sure it has enough salt.

Pour the pasta into a 8×11 baking dish. Top with remainder 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and sprinkle of chili flakes.

Bake until bubbling and hot in the center, about 30 minutes. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.

Serve with chilled white wine for the perfect spring time pasta meal.

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