Pizza Pasta Casserole takes all the flavors you love from pizza and blends it with hearty and healty pasta for a winner winner pasta dinner.
Who doesn’t, right? The cheese. The bread. The pepperoni. The vegetables. It all comes together for this amazing mouth experience that’s totally addictive. Well, it’s addictive to me anyway. I can’t remember the first time I’ve had pizza, but I remember eating tons of it my entire life. Not in one sitting of course…
So, as you get older, at least for me, the foods I love don’t love me so much anymore. Some types of pizza give plain fight back!! Then there’s some that just want to hang around in unwanted places for years on end. That’s why I’m always looking for a healthy and still tasty way to enjoy those flavors I love.
Enter the Pizza Pasta Casserole! Yeah. I hear those no carb or low carb peeps. “It’s pasta!” Yes. I know it’s pasta. Carbs aren’t bad! Contrary to popular belief. A crapton of them aren’t great for you, but they’re not bad for you in moderation. That can be true for everything. I’m sure you’ll start seeing those articles pop up soon. “Ooops! Sorry general public, we were wrong about carbs.” They pretty much do that about everything they tell us to eat, then don’t eat, and then eat again. Eggs. Butter. Case in point. Heck at one point in history it was tomatoes. TOMATOES of all things!!
I’ve made this a few times and both times I’ve simply devoured it. The sauce and the ricotta combine to make this velvety smooth robe that the pasta wears and that the pepperoni and vegetables swim in. The crusted of mozzarella on the top add that pizza cheese flavor you’re looking for. You that one, right? That slightly browned and toasted flavor? No? Just me?
This recipe is almost as easy as ordering pizza from your restaurant. And will probably be done cooking before you would have gotten a pizza. At least in this area. A pizza order takes at least an hour now. And I just have to insert a small rant. Bear with me…
I had the perfect storm of commuting days the other day. I had to stay late at work. It was only 30 minutes, but the next train wasn’t until 5; an hour after my normal time to leave work. Then a train was late. Like 25 minutes late. And, of course, it snuck in just before our train was scheduled to arrive so that put our train 5 minutes late. Then the tracks were hot so that meant we had to go slow which added up to 15 minutes late. So I didn’t get off the train until 6:30.
On days like this, we usually order. We’re too tired to cook, not matter how easy the recipe. Heck even sandwiches would have been too much effort. And it was hot as you know what. So, we ordered. From a place that is typically longer than others and there are many reviews stating that, but not like this. I placed the order with GrubHub at 6:36. It didn’t get to the store until 6:45. Not sure why. So that meant 7:45 for dinner. Yeah. That’s late for us, but I was just too tired to cook.
8 Comes. No dinner. I called the restaurant and was told the driver should be at my door any minute. 10 minutes later the driver calls and he’s lost. I call the store and he said he’d call the driver and call me back. I hear nothing for 15 minutes when I HAPPEN to look at the back of my house by the garage and there’s the driver. AND I still had to pay for the food. Hot food that wasn’t hot. Cold food that wasn’t cold. And a ball o’ fried mushrooms that could barely pull apart. It was 10 minutes shy of 2 hours since I had placed the order.
No. It’s not a small restaurant. It’s a chain in this area. So, scathing review on GrubHub with the timeline. Same post on their FB page and a tweet. We’ll see how they handle this. I just cannot believe that their headquarters would ignore all the bad reviews and this restaurant just doesn’t do anything about it. Trust when I say no matter how bad I want their chicken strips – because that’s the only thing that’s really good to eat there – I will find some elsewhere to eat. Never again.
So, as I was saying, even in the most extreme cases, you can have this on the table before the pizza arrives. Simply cook up some pasta, toss everything together, place in a casserole and bake. It’s that easy. I honestly wish I had all the ingredients for this dish on that day.
I mean, just look at that pasta!!
It’s covered in creamy sauce that coats each noodle. Then there’s the pepperoni that’s all spicy good. Combine that with the vegetables and you’ve got a casserole that tastes like your local take-out pizza. Only better. Way better! Because not only is healthier, but it’s cheaper than that take-out pizza, too.
Then, when you think it can’t get any better, you top it all off with creamy, melty mozzarella cheese. Yup. I did it. I baked more cheese on top of this casserole. Seriously, what’s pizza if not cheesy!? You can’t make a pizza pasta casserole and NOT have it topped with cheese, covered in cheese, and slathered with cheese. That’s just how I roll.
The hubs and I devoured this dish, too. It was completely gone the next day. He had a double helping, which meant it was really good. Of course, it might be because I added some pizza seasoning to make it taste more like pizza. Yup. I said it tasted more like pizza. Like, pizza on steroids pizza!!
You can’t look at that and tell me you don’t want to grab a fork and dig right in. Don’t lie. I know you do!! And I know you have almost everything you need to make this in your pantry or your fridge right now!! Well, if you’re like me you do because you always have pepperoni in the fridge. It comes in handy for so many things!! Including just eating it with cheese and crackers.
Have you ever had a perfect storm of day like mine? If so, what did you have for dinner? I’m always looking for quick and easy recipes to have on hand for days just like this one.
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- 1 cup chopped pepperoni slices
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions omitting the salt and oil.
- Combine the pepperoni with the ricotta, marinara sauce, onions and peppers and stir to combine.
- Fold the cooked pasta into the pepperoni mixture and bake at 350, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Uncover, top with mozzarella cheese, and cake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with an iceberg wedge or your favorite tossed salad.