Preheat Oven: Set to 350°F (175°C).

Brown Beef: In a skillet, cook ground beef with onion and garlic until browned. Drain excess grease.

Prepare Sauce: Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, basil, salt, and pepper to the beef. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Cook Pasta: Boil rotini until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Cottage Cheese Mixture: Combine cottage cheese with the beaten egg in a bowl.

Assemble Casserole: In a greased 9x13 inch baking dish, layer as follows:

Half the rotini

Half the cottage cheese mixture

Half the meat sauce

Two cups mozzarella cheese

Repeat layers.

Top Layers: Add drained spinach, then bacon, and finish with Parmesan cheese.

Bake: Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until cheese bubbles and browns.

Rest: Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Variations & Tips:

Substitutions: Ground turkey or a plant-based meat alternative can replace beef for a lighter or vegetarian version.

Add-Ins: Incorporate leftover roasted vegetables or a teaspoon of smoked paprika into the meat sauce for added depth.

Make-Ahead: Assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze. Adjust bake time if cooking from frozen.

Smoky Twist: A teaspoon of smoked paprika in the meat sauce adds a deliciously smoky flavor.

This Eight-Layer Casserole is more than just food; it's a hug in a dish, promising comfort, flavor, and a bounty of memories with every bite. Whether it's a weeknight dinner, a special occasion, or meal prep for the week, this casserole is sure to become a cherished recipe in your home.