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Easy Cheesy Baked Rotini

Need a comfort food vegetarian baked pasta recipe?? Make this cheesy Baked Rotini! This recipe has just 5 main ingredients so you can make it any night of the week with minimum fuss.

This cheesy rotini bake is a family favorite and kid-approved!

Bowl of baked rotini with cheese on top.
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Baked pasta recipe

There's nothing more delicious than a cheesy baked pasta dish, so here is the easiest possible baked pasta recipe with just 5 main ingredients: pasta, sauce, ricotta, egg, and cheese.

Lots of cheese.

If you want to add some Italian seasoning or dried oregano, I won't stop you.

This recipe requires NO large mixing bowls, because you make the cheesy pasta mixture right in the same pot where you cooked the pasta. You'll only need 1 small bowl or mug for whisking the egg.

To reduce the dirty dishes, you can whisk the egg in the empty ricotta container once you've added the ricotta to the pasta mixture. SO EASY.

Related recipe: Spinach Chicken Lasagna

Close up of cheesy baked rotini in a bowl.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb uncooked rotini noodles
  • 1 tablespoon salt (for cooking rotini)
  • ½ cup pasta water, reserved from cooking pasta
  • 4-5 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (about 1.5 24-oz jars, I recommend using a flavorful sauce instead of generic "spaghetti sauce")
  • 16 oz ricotta (or use cottage cheese)
  • 1 egg, beaten/whisked
  • 2 cups shredded cheese, divided (I love using a mix of mozzarella, Parmesan, Monterrey Jack and cheddar)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or dried basil or oregano
  • Fresh parsley or basil for garnish (optional)
Ingredients to make baked rotini casserole.

Related recipe: Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus

Instructions

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13 baking dish by brushing or spraying with olive oil or cooking spray.

Step 2: Boil water in a large pot with 1 tablespoon salt. Cook the rotini for about 8 minutes, or according to the al dente instructions on the packaging (typically 2 minutes less than fully cooked). Remember, you will bake the pasta so it will continue to cook in the next steps.

Step 3: Carefully spoon out ½ cup of hot pasta water and transfer to a heat-safe bowl or mug. Drain the rest of the water out and place the pasta back in the empty pot.

Step 4: Add the spaghetti sauce, ricotta, beaten egg, and 1 cup shredded cheese to the pasta. Rinse out your spaghetti sauce jar or measurement cup with the reserved pasta water and add that to the mix. Add dried herbs, if using. Mix well.

Mixing cooked rotini with pasta sauce, ricotta, egg, and cheese in a pot.

Step 5: Transfer the pasta mixture to the 9x13-inch pan and spread it around evenly. Top with the remaining 1 cup shredded cheese.

Pasta mixed with sauce and ricotta topped with shredded cheese in a baking dish.

Step 6: Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is bubbly and starting to brown. Serve warm, garnishing with fresh basil or parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Related recipe: Salmon and Orzo One Pan Dinner

What kind of pasta sauce to use

If you have a really good homemade pasta sauce, then you know that's the best sauce to use!

But there's nothing wrong with jarred pasta sauce. I recommend using a really flavorful sauce that you love instead of a generic canned "spaghetti sauce." I love the buttery marinara sauce from Tastes like Home. Other options are any good 4-cheese pasta sauces or basil and garlic flavored pasta sauces.

Feel free to use a meat sauce to add some chunky meat into your rotini bake.

Baked rotini on a fork.

Related recipe: Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce

Optional add-ins

Add chicken: This baked rotini on its own is vegetarian and is filling enough to not need any meat. But of course, you can always add some shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover roasted chicken (try my dry brine roast chicken!).

Ground beef or ground turkey: Brown 1 lb of ground beef or turkey in a skillet (bonus points for adding chopped onion!). Drain well and stir into the pasta.

Sausage: Brown ground sausage and drain any extra fat.

Meatballs: Add some thawed frozen meatballs (whole or chopped) to the pasta mix.

Broccoli: Some roasted broccoli would be a great addition! Do not add raw broccoli as it will not cook enough in the casserole. Another option is to add broccoli to the boiling pasta water for the last 3-4 minutes of cooking so it softens and add the par-boiled broccoli to this rotini casserole.

Spinach: For a healthy twist, add some frozen chopped spinach to the pasta mix. Just make sure to really squeeze any excess water out so the rotini does not become watery.

No frozen spinach on hand? Use fresh spinach and wilt it just so lightly in a hot pan. You can start with at least 4 cups of fresh spinach, it will reduce in size by a lot.

Related recipe: Pasta e Fagioli

What to serve with baked rotini casserole

We love this rotini bake with a baguette for sopping up all the extra sauce. It's great with some roast chicken or a rotisserie chicken on the side along with an easy Italian chopped salad.

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Close up of cheesy baked rotini in a bowl.

Easy Cheesy Baked Rotini

This easy baked rotini casserole has just 5 main ingredients and needs about 10 minutes of hands-on time! A family favorite. Read the notes for lots of add-in ideas.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 33 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 575kcal
Author: Kate

Ingredients

  • 1 lb rotini uncooked
  • 1 tablespoon salt for cooking rotini
  • ½ cup pasta water reserved from cooking pasta
  • 4-5 cups favorite pasta sauce (about 1.5 24-oz jars)
  • 16 oz ricotta or cottage cheese
  • 1 egg lightly beaten/whisked
  • 2 cups shredded cheese divided. Use a combination of cheeses, such as mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan, Monterey Jack
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or dried basil or oregano
  • Fresh parsley or basil optional garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13 baking dish by spraying or brushing with olive oil or cooking spray.
  • Boil water in a large pot with 1 tablespoon salt. Cook the rotini for about 8 minutes, or according to the al dente instructions on the packaging (typically 2 minutes less than fully cooked).
  • Carefully spoon out ½ cup of hot pasta water and transfer to a heat-safe bowl or mug. Drain the rest of the water out and place the pasta back in the empty pot.
  • Add the spaghetti sauce, ricotta, beaten egg, and 1 cup shredded cheese to the pasta. Rinse out your spaghetti sauce jar or measurement cup with the reserved pasta water and add that in. Add Italian seasoning, if using. Mix well.
  • Transfer the pasta mixture to the 9x13-inch pan and spread it around evenly. Top with the remaining 1 cup shredded cheese.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is bubbly and starting to brown. Serve warm, garnishing with fresh basil or parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Time saving tip: Gather your ingredients while the pasta cooks. Clean up while the pasta bakes.
Dish saving tip: Whisk the egg in the emptied ricotta container.
Optional add ins: Cooked chopped chicken, browned ground beef or ground turkey (drained well), browned ground sausage, thawed frozen meatballs (whole or chopped), roasted or parboiled broccoli (parboil it for 3-4 minutes with the pasta), thawed frozen spinach (squeeze to remove excess moisture) or wilted fresh spinach. Add any of these to the cooked pasta mixture.

Nutrition

Calories: 575kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 1402mg | Potassium: 836mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1347IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 398mg | Iron: 3mg
Recipe Rating




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