Table of Contents
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.
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.