The nice folk at Food Network call this a “creamy zucchini and spinach pasta bake” – and it is.
Because I used a shredded Italian cheese blend that included Parmesan, it cannot be called vegetarian. If, however, you go ahead and use shredded Mozzarela, as they originally suggested, you should be good to go for a tasty, and vegetarian, pasta dish that is an excellent main course, or…
as a lovely side with some nice baked cod.
It is all good.
•2 cups uncooked Cavatappi pasta
•2 tbsp olive oil
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 onion, diced
•2 cups shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)
•2 zucchini, halved and sliced
•8 oz sliced fresh ‘shrooms
•1 pkg. (6 oz.) baby spinach leaves
•1 jar (24 oz.) marinara
•16 oz cottage cheese (or Ricotta)
•1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
•1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
•Chopped fresh parsley
*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.
Note: I also added shredded cabbage (from a bag of coleslaw mix), to add to the veggie goodness. This is a trick I use for most pasta sauces and some casseroles; and it always works. Extra veggies are a good thing!
Heat your oven to 375º.
Cook your pasta according to package instructions, then drain and set aside.
Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion, cabbage, Seasoned Salt, pepper, and Sherry Peppers Sauce, tossing to mix well.
Cook, stirring often, for about eight to ten minutes, until the onions and cabbage are mostly tender.
Stir in the zucchini and the ‘shrooms and continue to cook, stirring often, for another five minutes.
Stir in half of the baby spinach, cook until wilted, then stir in the rest of the spinach and cook until that is wilted.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cooked and drained pasta, the cottage cheese, one cup of the Mozzarella, the Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper.
Apply cooking spray to a casserole (I used an 11 inch round baking dish), then spoon in the pasta mixture.
Top with the remaining Mozzarella – remember that I used a shredded Italian cheese blend.
Bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes, until the casserole is nice and hot, and the cheese well and truly melted.
Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and serve as you will.