In spite of the fact that cottage cheese actually has the word cheese in it, few folks put it in the same category as Swiss, mozzarella, cheddar, and other yummy, meltable cheeses. Ask someone what to do with it, and the answer will either be to eat it by itself or make it part of a fruit or veggie salad. Even cooks don’t often think of cottage cheese as a casserole or sauce ingredient for pasta, but the truth is that cottage cheese pasta is creamy, rich, and satisfying. Among the cottage cheese pasta choices are baked casserole, spinach and cottage cheese spaghetti, and egg noodles with cottage cheese and bacon.
There are actually a number of equally delicious approaches to baked cottage cheese pasta casseroles. A lasagna variation uses cottage cheese instead of ricotta. As cottage cheese is creamier, the results ooze with gooey, creamy deliciousness. Another casserole mixes cottage cheese with tomato sauce, sautéed onions, garlic, and if the cook desires, meat and mushrooms. Rigatoni, fusilli, or large elbow macaroni works well with this baked cottage cheese pasta.
Stuffing large pasta shells with a combination of cottage cheese and veggies such as green, yellow, or red peppers, green peas, and cauliflower in addition to onions, garlic, and mushrooms makes a fabulous dish that youngsters find so fascinating that they’ll ask for seconds. Topped with red tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese, the shells come out of the casserole brimming with mingled flavors. The clever cook knows that fresh Italian herbs elevate the stuffed shells to magnificence.
As good and creamy as cottage cheese is when eaten cold, combining it with other ingredients bound for the stove top or oven makes it even creamier. A very simple, low-fat, and nutritious way to create a cottage cheese sauce for pasta requires only olive oil, garlic, and fresh or frozen spinach in addition to cottage cheese. Some cooks like to add diced, sautéed onion and perhaps some mushrooms sautéed as well. A generous dose of grated hard cheese like Romano or Parmesan makes this easy pasta the perfect weeknight meal.
Bacon and cottage cheese become best friends when they are invited to sauce egg noodles. Sour cream is the third essential ingredient in this sauce. Basil adds a lovely, almost minty dimension. While this cottage cheese pasta dish doesn’t require onion and garlic, many cooks can’t resist adding them, and sautéed baby portabella or shitake mushrooms are also ways to dress this pasta up.