Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lasagna-Like Baked Fusilli

Bev had purchased a 6 lb box of mixed pasta (she loves Sam’s Club) for us to use while our kids were here in July and we used none of it and with some ricotta cheese that needed to be used, we decided to make a lasagna-like dish using fusilli pasta. 

We also had some frozen homemade meatballs in the freezer and leftovers in the fridge that needed to be used.  As usual, our pantry and freezer are over stocked and I’m trying to make dishes from what we have on hand.

I went online and found a couple of recipes to give me some guidance about ingredient amounts then I made it up from there – I’m moving out of my have-to-follow-the-recipe-exactly engineering minded comfort zone.  If engineers don’t follow the precise recipe, bridges collapse so it’s always been a challenge for me to look at a recipe as a guideline.

Meat Sauce Ingredients:
7 cups of homemade pasta sauce (or your favorite jarred) – see Note below
1 lb frozen meatballs, thawed and diced
1 link grilled bratwust (leftover) - halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons
1 cup sautéed peppers and onions (leftovers)

Baked Dish Ingredients:
1 pound dry fusilli pasta
Sliced provolone cheese to cover the dish
1 1/2 cups or so Breakstone Cottage Cheese (our ricotta ended up being bad)
Grated Romano (or Parmesan) cheese
6-8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

Note - I used 4 cups of Bev's homemade tomato sauce, 3 cups of homemade tomato juice (water poured off the top of the quart), and Italian spices, S&P to get the pasta sauce flavor I wanted.

1. To a large pot, add tomato sauce, spices, meat balls, bratwurst, veggies and simmer 30 minutes.  Taste and adjust spices.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, cook until al dente and drain.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
4. Pam a 9x13 inch baking dish.
5. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the pasta, 1/2 sauce mixture, Provolone cheese, cottage cheese, Romano to taste, remaining pasta, remaining sauce mixture, Romano to taste. 

6. Bake about 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bubbly, then remove, top with the mozzarella cheese and bake for 15 more minutes.

Bev and I both thought it was a home run and unlikely to ever be duplicated like I made it this time, but we can get close.  The sausage and veggies both improved the taste of the sauce as did the meatballs - much more flavor than plain ground beef.  So I believe my meat sauce in the future will be made with meatballs and a link of grilled Italian sausage - our tomato sauce usually already contains onion and peppers.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


8/8/17 Meal Date


  1. Looks very tasty thanks for sharing. For me recipes are are just a guide line or Ideas for interesting food preparation

  2. This is definitely a winner Larry. Looks delicious.

  3. Larry, Other than those peppers, this would work for me as well! Innovation in the kitchen...something that Laurie and I do frequently with leftovers. Our favorite Lasagna is store bought from Costco and it contains a mix of ground beef and Italian sausage. Can't make it any better at least for us. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  4. We had similar dinner tonight cleaning out cottage cheese though............HRB

  5. I love a good freezer/pantry meal! Great job using up what you had on hand because it looks fantastic. Have a lovely weekend!

  6. You never can go wrong with a bulk package of pasta; there will always be a night where you need to eat but just don't want to work hard at cooking. Looks like a great meal to me!

  7. Stick to your ribs yummy noodles.

  8. My kind of meal! Total comfort food.


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