Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baked rotini with zucchini


Baked Rotini with Zucchini

This is was own creation. Well, nothing is, strictly speaking our own without borrowing ideas and tips from others. But, I took what I know about cooking and blending things together, as well as some ideas from lasagna or baked ziti; and, I made my own thing.

My husband has come a long way. Before me, I believe he hardly ate vegetables. What are vegetables? Who the heck would eat those?

I, on the other hand, grew up eating a wide variety of vegetables: of varying sizes, shapes, colors, textures, and flavors. One of my friends, Cecily, brought over a couple of garden fresh zucchinis: one that was cooked a few days ago in a rice noodle stir fry and the other went into the baked rotini I prepared today.

Speaking of today, I must have been insane to cook on the stove and then bake. It was hotter than Hades, reaching over a sweltering 100 degrees outside. Since I don't have air conditioning in my house (we do have a lovely down draft swamp cooler), the inside temperature was perhaps 10 degrees cooler. With a stove and an oven on, the temperature was climbing up to match the outside heat. But, since I wanted to make some food my husband was sure to appreciate, off to work I went.

In effort to really cut the grocery budget, I'm not necessarily purchasing meat for cooking every week. My husband has breakfast pork sausage with his breakfast most mornings, so he's not entirely without his meats. I thought the flavor of zucchini would go lovely in this dish.

Without further ado, here's the recipe:

Baked Rotini with Zucchini

  • 1 fresh zucchini, peeled and cut into super thin - angel hair pasta size - strips
  • 1 & 1/3 packages of rotini
  • 2 24 oz of marinara sauce
  • 1 24 oz container of cottage cheese
  • shredded cheese
  • a tad bit of olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • chicken broth*
  • sea salt*
  • oregano*
  • parsley flakes*
* I apologize I do not have any measurements for the salt, oregano, or parsley flakes. My normal mode of operation is to fly by the seat of my pants. Several pinches of oregano and parsley flakes went into the marinara sauce, here and there.

  • Peel and cut the zucchini. Cut the zucchini super finely, so they end up looking like thin angel hair (pasta).
  • Peel and dice the garlic.
  • In a pan on medium heat, place the diced garlic and a few table spoons of olive oil. Once the garlic has been sizzling and you can clearly smell the fragrance of it cooking, add the zucchini. I added some chicken broth and sea salt so it would not burn and so it would cook faster and more evenly. Place the lid on it, and cook it until it's well done, stirring occasionally. I added oregano and parsley flakes. Once the stuff is cooked thoroughly, I added the marinara sauce, stirred the contents thoroughly, and placed the stove on medium heat.
  • In a separate pot, cook the rotini for 8 minutes. I'm not including specific instructions on this, so if you have questions, feel free to ask.
  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • The rest of the instructions is a bit artsy fartsy, or perhaps a bit foodie in attitude.
1. In the baking stone (I used a rectangular Pampered Chef stoneware), lay some of the sauce mixture sparingly on the bottom; no need to cover the bottom entirely of sauce.
2. The next layer, a decent spread of cooked rotini.
3. Then added cottage cheese. No need for it to be thoroughly covering this layer. Here and there.
4. Add shredded cheese. I added a mixture of shredded mozzarella cheese and shredded mild cheddar jack cheese. Also no need to be super thorough in cover this layer with cheese.
5. Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4.
6. Apply a generous layer of rotini.
7. Add shredded cheese; same mixture as mentioned in step 4.
  • Cover the stoneware, baking container, with aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 1 hr.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes and it's ready to serve.

The following are some photographs to go with the aforementioned recipe:


Zucchini. I have no photographs to show. I decided to blog about this recipe only after I had already skinned the zucchini and started slicing it.

2 boxes of rotini (actually, it was more like 1 and 1/3 or perhaps 1 and 1/2)

2 24 oz jars of marinara sauce

1 24 oz container of cottage cheese

shredded cheese - I used a combination of cheddar jack and mozzarella

olive oil - just enough to cook the zucchini. Don't drown the stuff with olive oil; not all that much is needed.

3 cloves of garlic

chicken broth - I have no idea how much I used; sorry. Less than 1/2 a cup?

Sea salt. Again, not sure of the amount here. A teaspoon or so?

Oregano. How much? Don't know. Pinches of it, here, there, over here, and over there?

Parsley flakes - same as oregano


First peel and cut the zucchini like so.

Then cut the zucchini again into thin spaghetti, angel hair, like strips.

Peel and dice the garlic.

Start layering the bake ware. See the instructions above. I apologize for not writing something else here. My steam is petering out.


The baked rotini with zucchini after it's baked and been sitting for a bit.


My meat eating husband enjoyed this dish thoroughly, despite the fact that this was a meatless dish.

1 comment:

Lori said...

WOW - This looks so good! My kids love "bouncy noodles" (rotini). I will be making this soon. I'll blog it and link back to you! Can't wait to try. Thanks for sharing. Lovely pictures!