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A pasta bake may be hands-down the most comforting casserole one can make. I will claim that a casserole can be anything that is layered in a baking dish and turned into an entire meal all in one. This baked rotini casserole gives whispers of lasagna without too much effort. Full of flavor, the best part is the time can be cut down by using your favorite jarred red sauce.
While many of my recipes include meat, this is one where meat is optional. The casserole can easily be vegetarian by eliminating the sausage. A casserole is meant to be easy to make and easy to customize for each family or individual.
The ingredients for this baked rotini casserole
- Rotini pasta has so many swirled edges that really hold onto the sauce. This way, each piece of pasta is packed full of flavor. Make sure to cook the pasta to al dente, which means slightly underdone, so the pasta really absorbs the sauce.
- Italian sausage has the ideal mixture of a sweet, spice, and herbs. You can opt for a sweeter or spicier variety to fit your liking.
- Marinara sauce is the major flavor in this casserole. I often use home preserved sauce, but any store-bought version will work perfectly.
- Whole milk ricotta adds a creamy richness to the casserole. Trust me: a layer of the riccota may become your favorite part. For the most flavor, choose whole milk ricotta if possible.
- Eggs are oftentimes what binds ingredients together. And in this recipe, one egg added to the ricotta layer is just enough to help it all hold together.
- Dried basil and dried oregano are often in the pantry, but tend to be forgotten. The fact of the matter is that they have so much flavor! There’s no need to buy fresh, especially at this time of the year.
- Parmesan cheese with it’s salty, iconic flavor acts almost like a seasoning. And it’s very welcome!
- Mozzarella cheese is the finishing touch. Mozzarella easily melts over the casserole and is best when it just begins to brown. Browning means that there’s even more flavor!
If you’re looking to save even more time, make this casserole the day before serving so it’s ready to pop in the oven. Remember: storing the unbaked casserole in the refrigerator will require a longer baking time since it will be colder than when freshly made.
Casseroles are a staple because they offer an entire meal without all of the separate dishes. The leftovers are great for taking to work, school, or simply eating for the next few evenings.
More casserole recipes
One Pot Stovetop Tuna Noodle Casserole
Spaghetti Squash Chicken Casserole
Three-Cheese Stuffed Shells
Chicken Tortilla Casserole
Watch how to make this baked rotini casserole
Baked Rotini Casserole
- 16 oz rotini pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 12 oz Italian sausage (about 4 links)
- 4 cups marinara sauce
- 15 oz whole milk ricotta
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 4 oz Parmesan cheese grated
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set it aside.
- Prepare and cook pasta according to the manufacturer's directions, cooking to al dente, or 2 minutes less than fully cooked. Drain pasta and return to warm stockpot. Add the prepared marinara sauce to the pasta. Stir and set aside.16 oz rotini pasta, 4 cups marinara sauce
- While the pasta is cooking, heat oil over medium in a 12-inch skillet. Slice sausage into ½-inch pieces. Brown sausage on both sides to create a crust, 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Add the browned sausage to the prepared pasta and stir to combine.1 tbsp olive oil, 12 oz Italian sausage (about 4 links)
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, salt, dried basil, dried oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and 2 oz Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine and set aside.15 oz whole milk ricotta, 1 egg, ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp onion powder, 4 oz Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp garlic powder
- Layer half of the prepared pasta in the baking dish. Evenly dollop the ricotta mixture over the pasta layer and spread to smooth. Add the remaining half of the pasta and spread it evenly. Top with mozzarella cheese and remaining 2 oz Parmesan cheese.8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese, 4 oz Parmesan cheese
- Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is beginning to brown and the casserole is bubbling, 45-55 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.
I tell all my friends and family how talented you are. You can cook, garden, educate us how to clean copper pots, how to decorate a table, how to decorate a tree, etc, etc, etc. You truly are a jack of all trades. Love watching your videos.
Love love love all your recipes and videos. Keep teaching the world!
OMG! This was so good! My whole family loved it! Thank you for such great recipes!
Did you pre-boil the sausage? It looked cooked when you sliced it?
What is the difference between marinara sauce and spaghetti sauce? Also would you serve a side of vegetables or salad with a dish like this?
Spaghetti sauce is a broad term for any kind of red (tomato) sauce. You could make Bolognese which is a red sauce with meat, you could make marinara which is a red sauce without meat, vodka, pink sauce, one heavy on the veggies is a garden style.
This was so easy and fun to make. I substituted a lot, like whatever pasta I had in the cupboard instead of rotini, ground sausage instead of links, and then I added some kale (since I already had this too) for a bit of green in the middle layer. I’ll be making this when I’m craving lasagna instead! Time saver.
I really love your Videos, you seem like you would be a really great friend! And a lot of fun to just hang out with and chat.
Made your Baked Rotini Casserole last night and we loved it. Although it is a very simple recipe to make it does take a little more time for a week night dinner, with precooking the noodles and sausage and then baking. But positively worth a easy Sunday dinner.
Kaleb, I love all pastas and pasta dishes/casseroles . This looks like a “must” make.
I like all of your homey comfort food. We all need a little warm comfort food this time of the year.
How about Tapioca? That’s definitely a homey comfort dessert. Just a thought. Keep up the good work, you make a lot of people happy. CW
I substitutes Italian meatballs, cut in half, for the Italian sausage, yum!
Mine is in the oven now, but I wanted to confirm something, do you really only use 8oz of ricotta? I had a 15 oz container and used about 2/3 and it seemed like barely enough. Will wait and see how it comes out. Now I have to figure out what to do with a few ounces of ricotta 🙂
Love love your Facebook page. Your recipes are bursting with flavor and your personality is a joy to watch. Feel like I’m your neighbor next door watching you cook. Thank you for all the tips on various subjects. God bless.
Kaleb…..Made my Italian bake last night, mine is very similar except I add Kale and Zucchini……but this time I added your ricotta cheese layer. GAME CHANGER!!!!!!! So so good! Been so much fun watching you grow with Wyse Guide over these past 5 years!!!!! Having you as part of my day is such a joy.
Had some leftover Rotini noodles so I found this recipe online. Haven’t eaten it yet. Still cooking. I will update comments after we eat