Easy Cheesy Baked Rotini Pasta Recipe (Italian)

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Easy Cheesy Baked Rotini Pasta Recipe (Italian)– It’s a cheesy pasta bake packed with delicious vegetables in a homemade tomato sauce- a family dinner made easy for busy weeknights!

Serve with Perfectly Cooked Chicken Breasts.

Cheesy Baked Rotini pasta after it is baked melty cheese on top with a few basil leaves. Spatula lifting up with a cheese pull.
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Easy Baked Rotini Pasta

This Italian-inspired dish takes perfectly cooked rotini pasta (spiral pasta shape), sautéed vegetables, and a melange of cheeses to create a delightful medley of textures and tastes. Layers of savory tomato sauce, vibrant veggies, and a duo of melted mozzarella and parmigiano cheeses form a comforting and luxurious dish.

Baked to perfection, each forkful offers a harmonious blend of Italian aromas and gooey cheesiness, making it a surefire hit for gatherings or cozy nights at home. Try my guide for how long to bake chicken breast at 425 if you’re looking for the perfect protein to serve with this pasta bake!

More pasta recipes you’ll love: Spinach Pasta, Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing, Pot Roast Casserole with Pasta, and Mediterranean Lasagna.

Cheesy Baked Rotini pasta after it is baked melty cheese on top with a few basil leaves.

Simple Ingredients

It is a delicious meal with fresh and simple ingredients that you can customize.

Ingredient shot.
  • Rotini pasta (sub for penne or rigatoni) 
  • Mixed sautéed vegetables of choice, chopped about the same size (e.g., bell peppers, zucchini, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, peas, eggplant, mushrooms, fresh spinach, etc.)
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmigiano cheese or parmesan cheese
  • Sugo al Pomodoro or marinara sauce
  • Fresh garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes (optional for added spice)
  • Fresh oregano
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)

See the recipe card for quantities and instructions.

How to Make Baked Rotini Pasta (Step-By-Step Photos)

This delicious dish requires minimal effort and brings fresh and big flavor!

How to make Cheesy baked Rotini Pasta (Step-by-Step Photos)- sautéing all the veggies in a skillet.

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
Sauté the Vegetables: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant.

How to make Cheesy baked Rotini Pasta (Step-by-Step Photos)- veggies after they are sauted in the skillet with olive oil.

Add the mixed sautéed vegetables and cook for 8-10 minutes until they are softened and a bit browned.

How to make Cheesy baked Rotini Pasta (Step-by-Step Photos)- sautéing all the veggies in a skillet. Adding the spices and mixing.

Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. Add the prepared tomato sauce and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

How to make Cheesy baked Rotini Pasta (Step-by-Step Photos)- sautéing all the veggies in a skillet. Adding the tomato sauce to the skillet with the veggies.

How to make Cheesy baked Rotini Pasta (Step-by-Step Photos)- Adding the cooked pasta to the skillet with vegetables and sauce.

Cook the Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rotini pasta and cook for 1-2 minutes less than the package directions since it will continue to cook in the oven. 

How to make Cheesy baked Rotini Pasta (Step-by-Step Photos)- layering the pasta with cheese and covering with more pasta in a baking dish.

Drain Pasta and add to Veggie Sauce: Drain the cooked pasta and add to the pan with veggies; mix until well combined.

Layering: Add half of the cooked rotini pasta mixture in an even layer in a large baking dish. Top with half of the mozzarella and parmigiano cheese. Repeat the layers with the remaining pasta and cheeses.

How to make Cheesy baked Rotini Pasta (Step-by-Step Photos)- layering the pasta with cheese and covering with more pasta in a baking dish.

Baking: Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Cheesy Baked Rotini pasta after it is baked melty cheese on top with a few basil leaves.

Serve: Once baked, remove the dish from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves if desired. Scoop portions and serve your delicious cheesy baked rotini pasta!

Enjoy your homemade Italian-inspired dish with your family and friends. It’s a comforting and flavorful meal that’s perfect for any occasion!

Cheesy Baked Rotini pasta after it is baked melty cheese on top with a few basil leaves. Spatula lifting up with a cheese pull.

Variations

Here are a few recipe variations you can try to customize your Easy Cheesy Baked Rotini Pasta:

  • Protein Additions: Add some protein to your pasta for a heartier meal. Mix in cooked and diced chicken breast, Italian sausage, ground turkey, ground beef, or some sautéed shrimp before baking.
  • Pesto Twist: Instead of using marinara sauce, toss the cooked rotini pasta with some basil pesto. Layer the pesto-coated pasta with sautéed vegetables and cheeses. This will give your dish a vibrant and nutty flavor.
  • Three-Cheese Blend: Mix up the cheese combination. Use a blend of mozzarella, cheddar, Gouda, ricotta cheese, cheddar cheese, or any other combination of your favorite cheeses. This can add a unique and rich flavor to your dish.
  • Herb Infusion: Infuse your dish with fresh herbs. Add chopped fresh basil, parsley, or thyme to the vegetable sauté for an aromatic touch. You can also sprinkle some fresh herbs over the top before baking.
  • Roasted Vegetable Variation: Instead of sautéing the vegetables, roast them in the oven until they caramelize and develop a deeper flavor. Toss the roasted vegetables with pasta sauce, pasta, Italian herbs, and cheese layers before baking.
  • Spicy Kick: Add red pepper flakes or chopped jalapeños to the vegetable sauté if you like some heat. This will give your dish a spicy kick that balances well with the cheesy goodness.
  • Bread Crumb Topping: Mix breadcrumbs with melted butter for a crunchy topping and sprinkle it over the cheese layer before baking. This will add a delightful texture contrast.
  • Mushroom Medley: Incorporate a variety of mushrooms like cremini, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms for a rich and earthy flavor. Sauté the mushrooms along with the other vegetables.

Cheesy Baked Rotini Pasta is a delicious recipe you want to make often. It is one of those easy dinners to feed a large crowd. The entire family is sure to love it!

Cheesy Baked Rotini pasta after it is baked melty cheese on top with a few basil leaves. Spatula lifting up with a cheese pull.

Storing and Freezing Baked Pasta

Storing baked pasta properly is crucial to maintaining its flavor and texture. Here’s how to do it:

Refrigerate: Place the portions of baked pasta in an airtight container or cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Baked pasta can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Reheating: To reheat, you have a few options:

  • Oven: Preheat your oven to around 350°F (175°C), place the pasta in an oven-safe dish, cover with aluminum foil to prevent drying out, and heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.
  • Microwave: If reheating a single portion, place it in a microwave-safe container, cover it with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap, and heat in intervals, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating.
  • Stovetop: For a more controlled reheat, place the pasta in a non-stick skillet, add a splash of water or broth to prevent sticking, and gently heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.

Freezing: Place the cooled pasta in an airtight freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag. Label with the date. Baked pasta can generally be frozen for 2-3 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

  • Reheating Frozen Baked Pasta: To reheat frozen baked pasta, it’s best to let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, follow the above reheating instructions, adjusting the time as needed.
bowl of cheesy baked rotini pasta with vegetables with fork in it. pArmigiano cheese on the side.

Top Tips For Best Results

Preparation Tips:

  • Cook pasta to “al dente”: Boil the pasta slightly less than fully cooked as it will continue cooking during baking.
  • Seasoning: Season each component (pasta, sauce, veggies) adequately to ensure well-balanced flavors in the final dish.
  • Cheese Variety: Combine different types of cheeses for a more complex flavor and gooey texture.

Baking Tips:

  • Cheese Coverage: Ensure even cheese coverage to prevent over-browning in some areas. You can add cheese layers in between the pasta and on top.
  • Foil Covering: Cover with foil during the initial baking to prevent excessive browning, then remove the foil for the last few minutes to achieve a golden crust.
bowl of cheesy baked rotini pasta with vegetables with fork in it.

FAQs

Can I use a different type of pasta for this recipe?

Yes, you can use a different type of pasta, such as penne, fusilli, or rigatoni, if you prefer. Just adjust the cooking time according to the pasta’s instructions.

Can I make baked pasta ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the dish and refrigerate it before baking. When you’re ready to serve, bake it according to the recipe instructions. Keep in mind that baking time might need to be adjusted if the dish is cold from the fridge.

Can I add meat to this recipe?

Absolutely! Cooked and diced chicken, Italian sausage, or ground beef can be added to the sautéed vegetables for added protein and flavor.

How do I prevent the top cheese layer from getting too brown?

If the cheese is browning too quickly, you can cover the dish with aluminum foil for most of the baking time and then remove the foil for the last few minutes to achieve a golden-brown top.

Do you cook the pasta before baking?

Yes, you cook the pasta before baking. It ensures tenderness. Boil until “al dente.” Then, assemble with other ingredients. Bake to meld flavors and melt cheese.

What type of pasta is best for pasta bake?

Medium-sized shapes like penne, rotini, or fusilli work well. Their textures hold sauces and cheese.

Do you bake pasta covered or uncovered?

When baking pasta dishes, the general approach is to bake them uncovered. This allows the top layer to develop a delicious golden-brown crust and lets the cheese melt and become bubbly and gooey. The uncovered baking also helps to reduce any excess moisture in the dish, resulting in a more satisfying texture.
However, in some cases, you might start by covering the dish with aluminum foil during the initial stage of baking. This can prevent the top from browning too quickly while allowing the pasta and other ingredients to heat evenly.

bowl of cheesy baked rotini pasta with vegetables with fork in it. Fork lifting up some of the pasta.

Looking for other recipes? Try these:

What to Serve with Cheesy Baked Rotini

These are my favorite dishes to serve with this baked pasta recipe:

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Cheesy Baked Rotini Pasta Recipe

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Easy Cheesy Baked Rotini Pasta Recipe (Italian)– It’s a cheesy pasta bake packed with delicious vegetables in a homemade tomato sauce- a family dinner made easy for busy weeknights!

  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 package (500 g) rotini pasta (sub for penne or rigatoni)
  • 3 cups mixed sautéed vegetables of choice, chopped about the same size (e.g. bell peppers, zucchini, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, peas, eggplant, mushrooms, fresh spinach, etc.)
  • 10 slices deli mozzarella cheese (or 2 cups shredded mozzarella)
  • 1 cup grated parmigiano cheese or parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups Sugo al Pomodoro or marinara sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional for added spice)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Sauté the Vegetables: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the mixed sautéed vegetables and cook for 8-10 minutes until they are softened and a bit browned. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. Add the prepared tomato sauce and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Cook the Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rotini pasta and cook for 1-2 minutes less than the package directions since it will continue to cook in the oven. 
  4. Drain Pasta and add to Veggie Sauce: Drain the cooked pasta and add to the pan with veggies; mix until well combined.
  5. Layering: Add half of the cooked rotini pasta mixture in an even layer in a large baking dish. Top with half of the mozzarella and parmigiano cheese. Repeat the layers with the remaining pasta and cheeses.
  6. Baking: Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  7. Serve: Once baked, remove the dish from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves if desired. Scoop portions and serve your delicious cheesy baked rotini pasta!

Notes

Top Tips

Cook pasta to “al dente”: Boil the pasta slightly less than fully cooked as it will continue cooking during baking.

Seasoning: Season each component (pasta, sauce, veggies) adequately to ensure well-balanced flavors in the final dish.

Cheese Variety: Combine different types of cheeses for a more complex flavor and gooey texture.

Cheese Coverage: Ensure even cheese coverage to prevent over-browning in some areas. You can add cheese layers in between the pasta and on top.

Foil Covering: Cover with foil during the initial baking to prevent excessive browning, then remove the foil for the last few minutes to achieve a golden crust.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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