Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

When I was in college (and pretty clueless in the kitchen), I started making a pasta dish similar to this one. I wanted the taste of a lasagna, but easier. I would boil some mini pasta shells, dump them in a bowl with pasta sauce and cottage cheese then microwave it. Ta-da! I tweaked it over time to something my roommates and I called "Pasta Surprise" or "Pasta Creation". I started adding corn, diced tomatoes, and other little treasures. I didn't use a recipe so sometimes it was good and other times it wasn't. With a little more practice and adapting a few similar recipes online, I've come up with something a little more consistent: a meal that we all really like.

Recipe adapted from Family Fun

1/2 to 3/4 lb. rotini pasta (or shells, penne, etc.)
1 12-oz. pkg. sliced pepperoni (or as much or little as you like)
Your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use about 3/4 of a jar)
1/2 - 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 - 1 cup cottage cheese
Fresh spinach, chopped
Tomatoes, diced

Optional Add-ins:
Zucchini, diced
Broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
Ground meat

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, and spread it evenly in the bottom of an oven-safe casserole dish (I use an 8 x 8). Pour sauce, cottage cheese, and veggies over noodles and combine. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

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