If you're looking for ways to decrease meat in your diet, this rotini bake is an excellent choice. It's a fuss-free combination of cooked spiral pasta, tomatoes, seasonings, and layers of mozzarella cheese. You won't miss the meat in this crowd-pleasing dish.
Serve this simple pasta casserole as a side dish or make it a meatless entrée for any night of the week. Add a tossed salad or Caesar salad and some garlic bread to make it a full and satisfying meal.
- 8 ounces rotini pasta (cooked al dente and drained per package directions)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes (undrained)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 dash ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded, divided)
Gather the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Grease a 2-quart baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is tender.
Add the tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Cook for 2 minutes until heated through. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir the hot, cooked rotini into the tomato mixture. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese. Spoon into the prepared baking dish.
Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top of the casserole.
Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
Serve hot. Enjoy!
How to Store and Freeze
- Cover leftovers and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. To reheat, cover with foil and heat in a 350 F oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the center registers at least 165 F (the USDA minimum safe temperature for leftovers) on an instant-read thermometer.
- To freeze the whole casserole, gather the ingredients, cook the pasta, and make the sauce. Line the baking dish with foil, leaving some overhang on both sides. Spoon the pasta, sauce, and cheese mixture into the baking dish (leave off the cheese topping until it's time to bake). Cool and freeze the casserole. Using the foil overhang, lift the frozen casserole out of the baking dish. Wrap the frozen casserole with plastic wrap and foil. Label with the name and date and add baking instructions. Freeze the casserole for up to 4 months.
- To bake, remove the casserole from its wrapping and place it back in the same baking dish (greased). Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed, or bake it from frozen. To bake from frozen, cover the casserole with foil and add about 20 to 25 minutes to the original baking time. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes and add the remaining cheese.
- Add 1/2 cup of chopped bell pepper to the saucepan and sauté along with the onion.
- For a spicier sauce, add about 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes to the tomato sauce mixture.
- Sauté about 1 cup of sliced mushrooms in the olive oil for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions and proceed with the recipe.
What is the Difference Between Rotini and Fusilli?
Rotini is an extruded spiral pasta, while fusilli is a strand that has been formed into a corkscrew shape. Either pasta may be used in this recipe.