Easy Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Bake

Sometimes, I have this recurring nightmare that I’ve forgotten something. I know it’s just my brain picking on me, because I don’t tend to be forgetful. Well, if I’m going to be perfectly honest, I’m really just procrastinationfull. Is that a word? I don’t think so. Well, it is now.

I tend to wait until the last minute to do things, which I guess could translate to a fear of forgetting to do something. Usually, in my dream, I’m back in high school, and I’ve forgotten the combination to my locker. Then, I forget where a class is. Next, I realize that I haven’t gone to one of my classes for weeks and weeks, and all along I thought I was, but really I wasn’t because I forgot where it was. As if that could ever happen in real life.

These dreams are completely inexplicable, because in reality, I really do have a great memory. But then Saturday, I forgot I had a hair appointment, and I didn’t go. Now they’re all, “You can’t come back here, Mean Lady, because we set aside a whole hour for you and you never came in.”

Seriously, there’s, like, one good salon to visit, and I had to go and blow it by forgetting my appointment. And those places aren’t forgiving. They rarely give second chances. I’ve been working up to calling them to apologize and try to reschedule, but I don’t want the snooty receptionist man to make me feel bad. Again. Cause then I may yell at him and ruin any last shred of hope I have left. I tend to do that when people are snooty. It’s a long shot, but I’m hoping that the fact that I’m an excellent tipper will get me back in their good graces. Or maybe I’ll take them cupcakes. Everybody loves cupcakes, right? Even snooty hair salon receptionist men, and uber-cool stylist girls that weigh, like, 10 pounds. Right?

I really think cupcakes are the way to go. Super Skinny Stylist Girl could use one, but frankly, I’m a little afraid of to seeing the free-for-all that a batch of cupcakes might cause. This could be interesting. Very. Interesting.

While I plan my strategy, you guys read about this rare savory dish that I have to share with you today. It’s a Hubster original that he whipped up one night with a bunch of stuff that we had sitting around the kitchen, when I didn’t feel like cooking. Gotta love a man who can cook. :)

This can be as healthy as it is easy, and it’s reminiscent of pizza…and spaghetti…except it’s better than spaghetti. Somehow. It’s a mystery. Maybe it’s all that cheese. And the addition of pepperoni… Who knows?! All I know is I love it (even though I kinda hate spaghetti…I know…weird).

This is the hubsters secret to great sauce. Just a few simple ingredients (olive oil, pepper, garlic, salt, Italian seasonings, and sugar) make it go from so-so to so good! :)

Then, of course, you need the tomato sauce.

As for the pasta in this dish, you can really use any kind that you like, but we prefer rotini, penne, or ziti. Rotini is our favorite. We also always get whole wheat pasta. The sauce is naturally healthy, with only a dash of sugar that can be considered unhealthy, so why not keep things that way with whole wheat pasta?

You can either cook the pasta for about 10 minutes (until al dente), or you can use raw pasta. The difference is in the bake times. If you precook the pasta, you only have to bake for 25 minutes, but if you don’t, then you have to bake for an hour.

Once the meat is cooked and mixed with the sauce, combine it all with pasta and pour it into a lightly greased 9×13-inch baking pan.

Then top it with lots and lots of yummy mozzarella. This is another place where you can be healthier, and use a low fat, part skim mozzarella. It tastes the same, and it’s much better for you.

Bake the whole thing at 350 for 25 minutes and voila! A quick, delicious, and healthy dinner that the whole family with like.

Plus, it is fantastic reheated, so there’s plenty for lunch the next day. :) This is one of our favorite stand-by meals. It’s healthy, easy, tastes great, and we all love it. If you need a last minute dinner that you don’t have to slave over, this is just the ticket. Enjoy!

Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Bake [Printable Version]
Makes 1 9×13-dish

Ingredients

1 13-ounce (about 375 grams)  box whole wheat pasta (I prefer rotini, ziti, or penne)

1 pound (454 grams) ground Italian sausage, turkey, or beef
2 cups pepperoni, diced

4 8-ounce cans (227 grams each) tomato sauce (or 2 15-ounce cans)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh minced garlic

2 cups (227 grams) mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (165 C). Lightly spray a 9×13-inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Boil the pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. You can skip boiling the pasta and bake it raw, but you will have to bake the dish for at least 1 hour (as opposed to 25 minutes).

Cook the Italian sausage in a large skillet until browned. Stir in the pepperoni; set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine tomato sauce, oil, salt, sugar, italian seasonings, pepper, and garlic. Simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes to release herb flavors. Stir the sauce into the cooked meat. Stir in the pasta and pour the entire mixture into the prepared 9×13-inch pan. Sprinkle with 2 cups mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes (if using raw pasta, cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes; remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes), until bubbling and cheese is just turning brown on top. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe by The Hubster

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Comments

  1. says

    Pasta, cheese, and pepperoni….I don’t think it gets any better than this! And as for that hair salon, be strong! If it is the only place that you like going to, then I would just call back! And most nice salons usually send out reminder emails or calls!! I’m sure this has happened to them before and to turn away business because of one little slip is just crazy!!

  2. Sheila says

    Go ahead with the Cupcake Attack. It’s perfect! Thanks for sharing the “secret” to the great sauce. Recipe’s really simple to follow, too. And I love your plate and your photos.

  3. Mary Anne says

    Yum!

    If you make them cupcakes and they don’t forgive you, then they don’t deserve you!
    But, seriously, one missed appointment ant they’re banning you? That’s a *bit* harsh, don’t you think? I’ve heard of repeat offenders being told they can’t come back, but never a one time apologetic “offender!”

  4. Marcie says

    This is actually very similar to something my family and I all love to make. We call it pizza pasta casserole. The differences are that we use *shudder* sauce from a jar and we throw in a ton of vegetables because we’re all veggie-lovers, especially my Ma and I who actually went vegetarian this year. Love these types of recipes though. Keep them coming!

  5. says

    That is so weird – I have the exact same dream and I actually wrote about it on my blog two weeks ago. I thought the whole missing classes in HS part of my dream might have something to do with my fear of yeast….because it was usually science class that I skip in my dream. I didn’t think about it having to do with being forgetful or procrastination. That is interesting….so weird that you have this dream, too!

    This sounds delicious and I am quite sure my kids would love this, too! I also like that you didn’t forgo the pepperoni just because you used the italian sausage – yum – so full of flavor!

  6. says

    Easy? Pizza? Bake? Great leftovers? Oh who wouldn’t be all over this recipe! It looks totally forkable. And… sadly, I don’t need dreams to haunt my forgetfulness. I’m like a goldfish, I turn around to quick and forgot what it was I was doing. ;)

  7. Shannon says

    This recipe is wonderful. This fed six people for two days, one of them a pregnant lady who finds most food nauseating lately. She loved it.

    I added a few stalks of celery and some carrots to up the veggie quantity of the sauce, it was AWESOME.

    • says

      Hi Alice, Is your oven Fahrenheit or Celsius? I know that most Celsius ovens top out at 260 degrees, so that’s why I ask. If yours is Celsius, then you’ll actually want to bake the mixture at 165 degrees. If you, however, have a Fahrenheit oven, then I believe you could cook it at the lower temperature (260 degrees) for 15 to 20 minutes or so longer (totaling about 1 hour). I hope this is helpful.

  8. Debbie says

    I have a recurring dream theme that I’m trying to cross a border and I’ve forgotten my passport. Hate those dreams. Too much anxiety. This pasta, on the other hand, I wouldn’t hate. Especially if I could get my husband to make it.

  9. Penny says

    I am glad that I found this. This looks easy enough to make for a large crowd. I am feeding the varsity boys cross country team pasta the day before their state meet. (load up on carbs for the meet) I need help trying to figure out how much to make. I am thinking that I should buy 2 of those big, disposable foil trays, and make a double batch in each one (4 batches total). I will have approx 30 hungry junior & senior men. Any advice would be sincerely appreciated. TIA!!!

    • says

      Hi Penny, I think that sounds like it would be plenty. One recipe of this feeds my family of three for three meals! Of course, we only have 1 serving each. You will probably get about 36 servings of this if you make 4 batches total. I hope this is helpful!

  10. Jenn says

    This was absolutely fab! I think the sugar is what did it-made the sauce different from all the other sauces I’ve made before. I used brown sugar. So good. And Rotini noodles are awesome too!

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