Macaroni Italiano

Macaroni Italiano

Crunchy California walnuts are the perfect addition to this hearty pasta dish.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon salt.
  2. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until done.
  3. While the macaroni is cooking, place the tomatoes and their juice into a large bowl.
  4. Add the baking soda, and with a fork or your fingers, break the tomatoes into small chunks.
  5. Stir in the tomato sauce.
  6. Add the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, spinach, peas, basil and pepper and toss to combine; set aside.
  7. When the macaroni is done, drain well in a colander and rinse.
  8. 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.
  9. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the casserole for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 minutes longer.
  10. Stir in the walnuts and spring with parsley.