So, when I made this awesome Baked Pizza Pasta on Sunday, this was my view outside:
So, so gross. I don’t like this second winter thing. But it certainly was a great backdrop for this comfy, cozy baked pasta dish, don’t ya think? And even now, when the forecast for today is in the 50s, I’d still eat this. It just might even be my lunch!
I know there are a million recipes out there for pizza pastas, but since I really think it’s the sauce that makes a pizza, I decided to concentrate on the sauce and let the rest come to me. Instead of using a bottled spaghetti sauce, I whipped up a quick and easy pantry pasta sauce out of canned crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and load of herbs and seasonings. Feel free to add and subtract from my choices as you see fit–this is very adaptable. I’ve made many homemade pasta and pizza sauces, and find that we like using dried herbs instead of fresh here, but again, do what suits you. Then, I tossed in some hot Italian sausage, salty pepperoni [Ben’s fav!], some bell peppers [that I LOVE!], and a little onion. Add in curly rotini pasta and lots of mozzarella cheese, and you have yourself one heck of a pasta dinner! Very adaptable, very forgiving, very delicious.
We’ve been eating this all week long, so I can testify to the fact that it heats up beautifully and even tastes better the next [and the next next next next] day. Yum-o! Next time I make this, I might increase the amount of sauce [or use a little less pasta], so keep that in mind if you wanna make this saucier, but really, we thought this was perfect as is. Fresh and flavorful like pizza, just in a more comfort food friendly form. Enjoy!
P.S. You have my permission to serve this at Easter dinner. I totally think that would be great. 🙂
Baked Pizza Pasta [TPC original]
click to print
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried onion
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 pound rotini
- 8 ounces hot Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 ounces pepperoni [reserve 5-10 slices for topping]
- 1 cup diced bell peppers [I used red, yellow, and orange]
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded [reserve about 2 ounces for topping]
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then begin by bringing a large pot of water to boil to cook the pasta.
In a saucepan set over medium heat, combine crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, and oil with all dried herbs and seasonings. Stir sauce occasionally and heat thoroughly.
Meanwhile, begin browning the sausage in a small skillet, breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When sausage is fully cooked, remove to a plate and use a paper towel to blot up some of the grease from the pan. Add onions to the hot skillet and cook over medium-low heat about 7 minutes or until soft.
When pasta water is boiling, add rotini and cook to al dente. Drain and return to pan, then add sauce, sausage, onion, pepperoni [minus reserved pepperoni], peppers, and about 6 ounces shredded cheese. Stir together then transfer to a 9×13 baking dish. Top with reserved cheese and pepperoni.
Bake for 20 minutes or until hot.
Time: 50 minutes.
Yield: 10-12 servings.
Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.