This recipe should be called "Baked Rotini with Leftover Veggies" because it inevitably turns into my "use it up" recipe every time! Besides providing an opportunity to use up vegetable and meat you have lying around, this recipe is relatively easy to make and extremely delicious! This is one of our favorite dinners - and we usually come away with enough leftovers for lunch the next day.
We recently decided to eat less meat - specifically only allowing it four meals per week - and this is one dish that is so easy to have with or without meat. We realistically only eat meat about once a week, and that generally comes in the form of sausage to put on pizza (another favorite dinner!). Seeing as the sausage comes in packs of six, and I don't put all of it on the pizza, I cut up the rest to use in this recipe. Any sausage will do (or even prosciutto, which works very well in this dish), I usually go either with a spicy chicken or andouille.
A delicious, filling, and healthy baked pasta that will gladly accept whatever rogue vegetables you have laying around.
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 1 pound rotini
- 10 ounces baby spinach
- 12 ounces sausage, sliced ¼ inch thick and quartered
- 8 ounces fontina cheese, grated, 2 ounces set aside for topping pasta
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Any other miscellaneous vegetables, chopped into small pieces
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet.
- Add onion and cook for a few minutes, until translucent.
- Add any miscellaneous vegetables at this point (zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, etc.).
- Add minced garlic, tomatoes, and oregano. Cook until tomatoes are soft and breaking apart (about 10 minutes).
- While tomatoes are cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Add spinach to the water one minute before the pasta is done.
- Drain, return pasta and spinach to the pot, and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chopped sausage and 6 oz of grated fontina.
- Add heavy cream to the cooking tomato sauce and mix until incorporated. Cook another five minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
- Pour into the pot with pasta and spinach, stirring to coat all noodles and evenly distribute the cheese, which will melt at this point.
- Pour into a 9x11 baking dish, top with remaining fontina and grated parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately!
- Derek is always begging for more fat, oil, etc. in foods - so while I make this meal with heavy cream and extra cheese, it would be fine with a less fatty cream and less cheese.
- I often use extra zucchini in this recipe, and have had success using bell peppers, green beans, and asparagus. Experiment!
- You can make this in two 8x8 pans, and freeze one before baking to use another time.
- Any type of pasta will work, but I like rotini because it easily soaks up the sauce into the spirals!