Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Pepperoni Pasta Bake, found over at BlogChef.net. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.
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.
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.
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.
In a large bowl, mix your (drained) pasta, your (drained) sausage/onion mixture, and your pasta sauce.
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.
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.
Bake that shit for 25 minutes. This is just enough time to go upstairs and snorgle….
This is what my pepperoni pasta bake looked like when it was done:
Yeah. Still haven’t gotten the hang of food photography yet.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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™.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I was starting to get pissed here because shit was getting messy.
Rick takes a photo of my thoughts on cottage cheese.
Oh, look. It’s time to eat some of satan’s bed sores.
This is just not looking good, man.
This picture reminds me of that coconut cake we made a while back. If only.
I used the handle of the spoon so that none of it could taint my cooking utensils. Rick just laughed because he knows.
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).
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.
We put some in a bowl to try it when it was done.
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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- 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
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Lightly grease a 9x13" casserole dish.
- 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.
- In a medium skillet over med-high heat, cook the sausage until brown. Drain.
- 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).
- In a medium bowl mix cottage cheese, sliced black olives, and mozzarella. Spoon the cheese mixture over the pasta mixture. Top with pepperoni slices.
- Bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.