Crunchy California walnuts are the perfect addition to this hearty pasta dish.
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 2 cups (1 – 16 ounce can) canned tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon low-sodium baking soda
- 1 cup (1 – 8 ounce can) low-sodium tomato sauce (or unsalted)
- 1 1/4 cups low-fat cottage cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 – 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup chopped, toasted California walnuts
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Salt to taste
- Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon salt.
- Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until done.
- While the macaroni is cooking, place the tomatoes and their juice into a large bowl.
- Add the baking soda, and with a fork or your fingers, break the tomatoes into small chunks.
- Stir in the tomato sauce.
- Add the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, spinach, peas, basil and pepper and toss to combine; set aside.
- When the macaroni is done, drain well in a colander and rinse.
- Add to the cheese mixture, toss to mix thoroughly, then pour into an oiled 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the casserole for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 minutes longer.
- Stir in the walnuts and sprinkle with parsley.