Spicy Sausage, Fusilli, and Zucchini Bake
Invite the neighbors because you’re going to have enough to share with this hearty casserole, suggested by Scramble fan Jennifer Robertson. Or, you can enjoy leftovers for lunch or freeze half for a busy night. This has more ingredients than the typical Scramble dinner, but since it’s basically 2 meals in one and incredibly tasty, we thought it was worth it.
- 16 oz. whole wheat fusilli (spiral) noodles (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed)
- 1 lb. hot or sweet Italian sausage (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed), or use turkey, chicken, or meatless sausage
- 6 cloves garlic minced, about 1 Tbsp.
- 1 zucchini or yellow squash shredded or grated (no need to peel first)
- 8 oz. sliced cremini or white button mushrooms
- 28 oz. diced tomatoes with their liquid
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp. fried basil or use 1/4 fresh chopped
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano or use 1/4 fresh chopped
- 2 cups low fat cottage cheese (or use any variety) or use ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
- Prepare the pasta according to the package directions until it is al dente. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 13-inch (or larger, if you have one) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (alternatively, make it in two 8 x 8-inch baking dishes so you can freeze one for later).
- Meanwhile, remove the sausage from its casing and brown it over medium heat in a large skillet for 5 – 7 minutes, cutting it into smaller pieces with a spatula while it cooks.
- When it is almost browned, add to the skillet the garlic, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes with their liquid, tomato paste, basil, and oregano and simmer it for 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a very large bowl, combine the cottage cheese, eggs, and Parmesan cheese.
- When the noodles are done, drain them and stir them into the bowl with the cottage cheese mixture. Add the sausage and vegetable mixture and toss to combine.
- In the baking dish, layer half the pasta mixture, then half the mozzarella cheese, followed by the remaining pasta and the remaining mozzarella. Cover it with foil (spray the bottom of the foil with nonstick cooking spray first or use nonstick foil so the cheese won't stick to it). (At this point, the dish can be refrigerated for up to 12 hours.)
- Cook it for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook it for 15 more minutes until the cheese and sauce are bubbling. Serve it immediately, refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or cool it completely, wrap it tightly and freeze it for up to 3 months.
Slow Cooker Directions
- You will need at least a 5.5L slow cooker to make the full recipe. Do not pre-cook the noodles. Add the eggs to the slow cooker, and beat lightly, then add all other ingredients except the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Stir until well combined. Cook on low for 5 - 6 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours. Top with the cheeses, and cook up to 30 minutes more to allow them to melt. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)
Do Ahead or Delegate: Cook the pasta and store tossed with a little oil to prevent sticking, brown and refrigerate the sausage, peel the garlic, shred or grate the zucchini, slice the mushrooms if necessary, cook the sausage and vegetable mixture and refrigerate, grate the Parmesan and shred the mozzarella cheese if necessary and refrigerate, prepare and refrigerate the egg/cheese mixture, assemble and refrigerate the dish for up to 12 hours, or fully prepare and refrigerate or freeze the dish. Scramble Flavor Booster: Use diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning and add ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce. Tip: Mushrooms are very low in calories and contain about 80 percent water. They are an excellent source of potassium and riboflavin. A benefit of cooking with mushrooms is that they hold up well with a variety of cooking methods including roasting, stir-frying, and sautéing, and are an excellent substitute for or complement to meat—try substituting half of the ground meat in recipes with finely diced mushrooms for a nutrition and flavor boost. Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 410, Total Fat: 19g, 28.5%; Saturated Fat: 8g, 38%; Cholesterol: 84mg, 28%; Sodium: 677mg, 28.5%; Total Carbohydrate: 37g, 12%; Dietary Fiber: 5g, 20%; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 25g Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!