Why rotini pasta? Rotini is a corkscrew-shaped pasta that takes its name from the Italian word for “small wheels.” The tight “wheel” twists hold the sauce making every bite fun and tasty.
Why pie? The springform pan used in this recipe holds the pasta and other ingredients together so that when the sides are removed, the dish resembles a round pie. It’s fun to slice it and serve the pie-like slices at the table.
1 pound rotini pasta (cooked al dente)
1 roasted red bell pepper (roasted and cut into strips)
6 ounces fresh baby spinach
1½ cups ricotta cheese
6 large eggs
4 fresh basil leaves (chopped)
1 cup + 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (divided)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a springform pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions or until al dente. Set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, roast the red bell pepper. To do so, place the pepper under the broiler and roast for 20 total minutes turning the pepper every 5 minutes until blackened. Place pepper in a baggie and close to let it steam. After about 5 minutes, remove pepper, peel and cut into 2”-long strips. Set aside.
Mix pasta, pepper strips and spinach in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In another large bowl, stir to combine ricotta, eggs, basil, 1 cup of the cheese, garlic, and nutmeg. Add salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Transfer to the bowl with pasta and gently stir until well combined.
Transfer mixture to the springform pan and sprinkle with remaining two tablespoons of cheese. Bake until firm to the touch and the top is golden brown (about 40 minutes). Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before un-molding.
Serve with a simple garden salad and vinaigrette dressing for a completely satisfying meal.