The dish I am sharing today was adapted from one that I found in Cuisine at Home. It was in their 30 minutes or less dinner section but I made it early, put it into casseroles and heated them up when it was time to eat, so that I wasn't cooking while my guests were over.
We did have one of the playoff games going in the background but we were also busy playing "Heads Up" which is a game designed by Ellen DeGeneres. Have you played this yet? It is a great family game and you are going to have a blast. My only complaint is that as I get older when I laugh too hard it causes me some "ahem" problems, and I was laughing very long and hard during these games.
This dish is the perfect cross between pasta and pizza....who could ask for more than that? The only problem was that since I made the casseroles early in the day and didn't put them in the oven until guests were over and we were distracted, I forgot to take photos when I took them out of the oven. This is a little corner of one casserole that was left over but you get the idea anyway.
I adapted the recipe to feed a lot more people and then I doubled the recipe I am sharing with you to make 2 casseroles, each with enough to feed 9 or 10 hungry mouths.
After you brown the Italian Sausage and render some fat from the pepperoni you remove the meat to a paper lined plate and saute your mushrooms, garlic and onions in the drippings. This not only gives you flavorful drippings in which to cook your vegetables but prevents the pepperoni from leaving pools of grease on your casseroles.
Then you are ready to build your sauce by adding your tomatoes and seasonings. I also added some tomato paste to thicken the sauce a bit. You can skip this step all together and used jarred marinara sauce mixed with the mushrooms and onions or omit that step as well. This is your dish.....Do you like green peppers and olives on your pizza? Add them in.
When the sauce is complete you toss it with the pasta and Italian sausage. Top it with some fresh mozzarella slices and layer that with your pepperoni. Now the casserole is ready. You can bake it immediately or refrigerate it for later at your convenience.
Pizza Pasta Bake
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #97
This is enough for one casserole, double the ingredients if serving more than 10.
16 oz. dried curly pasta, I used gigli
6 oz sliced pepperoni
1 lb Italian Sausage, bulk or links with skins slit and removed
12 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Italian Herb Paste
1/2 t. Chile Pepper Paste
1 qt. tomatoes with juices
1 T. tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
10 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
Cook pasta, al dente, per package directions. In a large skillet, over med high heat, brown the sausage. Add the pepperoni and cook to allow some of the fat to render out. Remove meat to a paper towel lined plate to drain. In the same pan, over med high heat, saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms until tender. Add the tomatoes and their juices, herbs, chile paste.salt, pepper and tomato paste. Cook for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Combine the pasta and Italian sausage in a casserole treated with cooking spray. Pour in sauce and toss to coat. Layer the mozzarella cheese over the pasta and the pepperoni over the cheese. Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned in spots. Print Recipe
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