Pepperoni Pasta Bake – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Pepperoni Pasta Bake, found over at Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was my choice, and by “my choice”, I mean “Fred sent me the link to this recipe and asked me to make it.” It looked interesting – and certainly easier than making real pizza from scratch – so I was willing to give it a try. And because it’s so much like pizza, I’ve been calling it “Pizza Casserole” ever since. Imagine my surprise when I realized it had a different name altogether. Duh.


Pizza Casserole (1)

Rotini pasta (uncooked), Italian sausage (I used some of the sausage I had in the freezer from our very own pigs), pasta sauce, cottage cheese, sliced black olives, mozzarella, sliced pepperoni. In addition, I added onion and mushrooms, because that’s how we like our pizza. Garlic would have been a tasty addition, too.

Preheat your oven, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, and toss your sausage (and chopped onion, if you’re using it) into a skillet over med-high heat.

Pizza Casserole (2)

Pizza Casserole (5)

When the water’s boiling, add your pasta to the water (please note: wooden spoon across the top to stop the water from boiling over. Doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for me. Maybe I’m magic.) Boil the pasta for 8 – 10 minutes, occasionally stirring, and keep an eye on/occasionally stir your browning sausage/onion mixture.

Because you’re trying to multi-task, the pasta and the sausage/onion mixture will probably be done at the exact same moment. Drain your pasta first; the sausage can wait.

Pizza Casserole (4)

In a large bowl, mix your (drained) pasta, your (drained) sausage/onion mixture, and your pasta sauce.

Pizza Casserole (3)

In another bowl, mix your cottage cheese, sliced black olive, and mozzarella. This is where I added my (drained) sliced mushrooms.

Put your pasta mixture in a greased 9×13 pan, and then top it with the cheese mixture.

Pizza Casserole (7)

Pizza Casserole (8)

And then top THAT with pepperoni slices. This was a LOT of pepperoni, and I ended up using only about 3/4 of the 6-ounce bag of pepperoni.

Pizza Casserole (9)

Bake that shit for 25 minutes. This is just enough time to go upstairs and snorgle….

Pizza Casserole (12)
Kitten ears and bellies! (Yes, that’s a completely gratuitous kitten picture. Whatcha gonna do about it?)

This is what my pepperoni pasta bake looked like when it was done:

Pizza Casserole (10)

Yeah. Still haven’t gotten the hang of food photography yet.

Pizza Casserole (11)

The verdict? To me, it was just “meh.” Fred, however, loved the hell out of it. He took the leftover casserole to work for lunches, and every single day he came home and told me how good it was. I’ll make it in the future for him, but I’m not interested in eating any of it myself; it just wasn’t my thing.

The good thing about this recipe is that it’s pretty flexible – if you prefer ground beef to sausage, or half ground beef and half sausage, that’ll work. If you like your pizza with anchovies, by god go right ahead and toss some anchovies in there. The sky’s the limit!


Nance’s Take:

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

I don’t know about you guys, but something dies inside of me every single time I find myself boiling pasta. My mother’s favorite meal is spaghetti and since it’s one of the cheapest meals you can make we had it often when I was growing up. That’s also why I’m always amazed when I see spaghetti on a menu in a restaurant.  Who would want something that they could eat at home?  Blech.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

This recipe was pretty simple. Cook your pasta, cook your sausage (yuck), throw the shit together, move it along, etc., etc.

True Confession:  Rick and I are pretty fond of having dance parties when we’re alone in the house.  We’ve been doing it since we met and we’ll probably keep doing it until one of us breaks a hip.  This dish was prepared in the middle of an 80’s dance party (we switch it up all the time, oldies, top 40, whatever).  And now you know a secret about us that very few people know.  We like to bust a move while cooking.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

In Pennsylvania it’s okay to wear a sweatshirt with snowflakes on it after the first day of spring because tomorrow we’re supposed to be getting 3-6 inches of snow. My point is made.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

There are no words for how much I love Ragu™. I once read an article about how certain food makers are allowed so many pieces of flies and shit to get into their product. Did this stop me from eating Ragu™? OHHELLNO. And that, my friends, should tell you how much I love Ragu™.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Action shot! Yup, I sure did over-cook that Rotini. I swear it is because of the ADD. I get bored waiting for it to be al dente, walk away and then BAM…too late.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Another action shot. I’m already not into this dish because of the sausage. I’m just not a fan. Although once a year I do love a good hot sausage sandwich with onions and peppers. Weird.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

When you pour spaghetti sauce out of the jar, do you rinse it out with a little bit of water and then pour that back into the sauce? Shirley does that and it drives me batshit. She fucking thins the Ragu™ all in the name of making sure she isn’t being wasteful. I don’t do that shit, man. That’s crazy.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

When I color with crayons (which I haven’t done in 40 years) I like to stay in the lines. You can just imagine what this did to a Type-A like me.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

I was starting to get pissed here because shit was getting messy.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Rick takes a photo of my thoughts on cottage cheese.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Oh, look. It’s time to eat some of satan’s bed sores.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

This is just not looking good, man.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

This picture reminds me of that coconut cake we made a while back. If only.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

I used the handle of the spoon so that none of it could taint my cooking utensils. Rick just laughed because he knows.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

I tried to sink them so that it would be like the actual recipe (that said to mix that hot mess in with the cottage cheese/mozzarella mixture).

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

You can see that I only did a quarter of it with olives. And then I tried to cover it up with pepperoni so that none of the smell would seep into my oven much. Gag.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

We put some in a bowl to try it when it was done.

DCEP - Pepperoni Pasta Bake

This one is not going into the recipe book, but to be fair, it’s probably because we’re not fans of cottage cheese (although I use it in my lasagna). The amount of cottage cheese required by this recipe pretty much sealed the deal that we weren’t going to care for it.  But if you love cottage cheese and olives this might be the recipe for you.  You can try it out if you want to come over and dig it out of my garbage can!

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Pepperoni Pasta Bake - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Original Source/Author:
: Casserole
Cuisine: Italianish
Serves: 8
  • 16 oz pkg uncooked rotini pasta
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 16 oz jar of pasta sauce
  • 24 oz cottage cheese
  • 2.25 oz can sliced black olives (drained)
  • 12 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 6 oz sliced pepperoni
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Lightly grease a 9x13" casserole dish.
  3. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add the pasta to the pot and follow directions on the box to get al dente pasta (usually 8 - 10 minutes). Drain.
  4. In a medium skillet over med-high heat, cook the sausage until brown. Drain.
  5. In the prepared casserole dish (or a large bowl) mix the cooked pasta, sausage, and pasta sauce (then pour into casserole dish and spread evenly).
  6. In a medium bowl mix cottage cheese, sliced black olives, and mozzarella. Spoon the cheese mixture over the pasta mixture. Top with pepperoni slices.
  7. Bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.



Pepperoni Pasta Bake – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe — 36 Comments

  1. Nance, could we have some dance-party action shots and a playlist? Many thanks in advance!

    • Action shots? NO. I said we have dance parties, I didn’t say we were good at dancing! If we don’t let our kids see us dancing we’re sure as hell not going to show the world. Dignity, I haz some. Very little, but some.

      I gotta think about the playlist some. I’ve listened to so much music this weekend that my brain is pretty dead.

    • NO WAY, lady, I like my onion in chunky strips when it comes to pizza.

      On the other hand, someone DOES need to do a how-to-cut-an-onion tutorial. I nominate YOU. 😛

      • You can kiss my fat ass, princess. I said I will never do it. Maybe we can talk Shirley into doing it because nothing says, “Cooking with love” like my mom’s deep voice and harsh intent. 🙂

      • Please please please do a “cut onion” recipe! Amanda would love it! :p
        (this is a very narrow comment isn’t it?)

      • PLEEEEEEZE?? Why yes, Carrie, it is very narrow. Wanna see how small we can get it? >:D

  2. Nance – Instead of using water to rinse my spaghetti sauce jar, I some nice red wine. Gives a MUCH taste to your sauce than water 🙂 And you know, since you’ve opened that bottle of vino…

    • I think my mother did the water-rinse of the Ragu jar when I was growing up – but, y’know, with four kids, every last cent counted when it came to food! I doubt that she does it anymore – for that matter, I doubt that she even eats Ragu these days, either!

      • I’ll never forget when I was in high school and my mother jumped ship over to Prego. All that green shit in it, spices, etc. There was no way I was ever going to like Prego when I thought they were pushing vegetables on me. And I’ll never forget Alex refusing to eat his favorite food (spaghetti w/Ragu) because that little shit hated onions and he went over to the garbage can and pulled the jar out just so he could read if there were onions any where listed. So ends quick and easy spaghetti dinners at my house. Brats.

      • My husband has gone over to the garbage, pulled it out, read the ingredient list and then refused to eat the spaghetti because mushrooms were the 47th ingredient. It’s really a miracle that man is still alive!

      • For the last 18 years, I have strained my spaghetti sauce no matter what brand. The male members of the house hold will not NOT eat any chunks of any kind. I then add the strained leftover veggies to my serving of pasta. I hate picky eaters.

    • I like to use wine in the “real” spaghetti sauce that I make, but I am dead serious when I say that there is just something about Ragu. It stains your fingers if you touch it and look at what it does to plastic containers. That stuff has to be a special kind of fake tomatoey crack and I can’t imagine messing with the purity (ha!)…

      but I do think it’s about time I make up a pot of real sauce (gravy/whatever). It’s been a while. Thanks for the good idea!

    • Thanks! I have serious issues with this note paper behind it, but I think I’ll like it once we can get rid of it. It reminds me way too much of the old FrontPage days. I LOVE the logo (more on that later). Daniel did a fabulous job on it and we are thrilled with her. 😉

    • Right now this notepaper background looks ugh to me (as well as the new recipe). Robyn sure knows how to pick ’em, huh? Hee!

  3. That cottage cheese/mozzarella mixture is just screaming for some Parmesan or Romano cheese. Just SCREAMING I tell ya!

    I might try this, but I’d use ricotta instead of cottage cheese. I like cottage cheese with some pineapple, but not in my pasta. And, of course, I’d add the Parmesan.

  4. Yes, that’s a completely gratuitous kitten picture. Whatcha gonna do about it?

    I’m gonna squee.. that’s what I’m gonna do.. and you can’t stop me.


  5. I rinse my spaghetti sauce jars with just a leeeetle chicken broth. And I bet you could’ve used ricotta instead of cottage cheese! I’m not much of a fan of cottage cheese myself… when I went away to college, that was one of the only things I liked in the dorm cafeteria… yeah, 3 months straight of cottage cheese cures any love of the food you might have had.

    And I, too, love the redesign… the logo is awesome 🙂

  6. I think I’d like this! I would like to know if your dance parties have been endorsed by Amanda?

    • I feel confident in proclaiming that Amanda does not believe in dancing or any other expressions of any kind of joy, EVER.

  7. The site looks great! I’m so glad there is a “search” bar. I’m totally gonna give it a try when I finish writing this.

    Ewwww, cottage cheese. Dislike. It’s the texture. Ugh, I just got shivers thinking about it. (That said, I do love me a good pasta bake…)

    • Yes! Search bar success! Now I can find the Zucchini Tots recipe whenever I need to! By the way, we used the basic outline of the Tots recipe to make sweet potato tots last week. By “we,” I mean my husband, who’s a better cook than I am (I do the baking). They were great.

  8. I am HIGHLY opposed to cottage cheese in Italian recipes, even though I dearly love cottage cheese in general. I, too, would probably try ricotta instead. And kalamata olives because canned black olives are gross. Annnnnd now I sound like those bitches on allrecipesdotcom who are like, I loved this chocolate cake, except I didn’t use chocolate, I added tofu, increased the sugar, left out the gluten, added pasta, used crackers, re-added the gluten, added nutmug. Four stars!

    • Those people drive me legitimately crazy. Something like ‘I didn’t have enough (x) so I used some (y) instead’ or ‘I left out the (z) because my daughter is allergic to it,’ sure, but oh my god after a certain point you are not even making the same recipe and you need to STEP AWAY.

  9. Wow! The new page design is Fa-bulous! And I’m trying to get up the courage to translate the page into another language. (Swedish Chef anyone?) I just need to do it with a language that has a recognizable alphabet, so that there is not a repeat of the time I though it would be fun to switch my phone to Arabic, and then couldn’t read how to switch it back!!

    • I checked out the design before bed the other night, and looked at it in French. The next morning I got up, came onto the site, and was BLOWN AWAY that it was in French. I was like “I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW RICK AND NANCE KNEW FRENCH!!!!!” It was early, so it was few moments before I realized that I am an idiot (sometimes I forget!)

  10. Ok, I have to share. My husband just sent me a link to a website, and it’s the second funniest food-oriented site I’ve seen (“Dinosaurs” being the first, of course!). Not that anyone on here is squeamish when it comes to cussing, but be warned: there is LOTS of cussing.

    My favorite quote so far? On feeding pets healthy food:

    “my dog is so [bleeping] healthy that when we go to the vet, the vet pays me. real talk.”

  11. My parents make this kind of pasta bake all the time, but we all hate cottage and ricotta cheese (Satan’s bedsores is EXACTLY right!). So they wind up using mozzarella and italian blend cheeses. It’s still really cheesy and it’s good, though I think I would prefer ground beef or shredded chicken if I was making it. And no olives, bleh.