Pepperoni Pizza Casserole – Indulge, in the world of comfort food with our mouthwatering Pepperoni Pizza Casserole. It’s the combination of deliciousness and robust flavors that will transport you to a pizzeria right at your dining table! Packed with penne pasta, marinara sauce, Italian seasoning and generous amounts of pepperoni and mozzarella cheese this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for both adults and kids. Get ready to bring a bistro vibe to your kitchen with this easy-to-make casserole that will quickly become a family favorite.
I still vividly recall the first time I prepared this Pepperoni Pizza Casserole; it was a chilly evening. I wanted to create something comforting yet tantalizing for our taste buds. The kitchen filled with the aroma of marinara sauce and melting cheese as I pulled the casserole out of the oven. It was a success! My husband, who has always been a fan of anything with pepperoni couldn’t wait to dig in. My little one couldn’t resist the cheesiness either. Since then this casserole has become our go-to choice, for family dinners and gatherings.
What makes this Pepperoni Pizza Casserole truly stand out?
What makes our Pepperoni Pizza Casserole stand out is how it captures the essence of a pepperoni pizza while adding a twist, with penne pasta. This dish is extremely versatile allowing you to choose between cavatappi or rigatoni pasta based on your preference. Moreover, by opting for marinara sauce you can personalize the recipe. Enjoy the burst of fresh and authentic flavors. It’s a fuss-free recipe that guarantees the comfort of home-cooked meals combined with the flavors reminiscent of your favorite pizzeria.
What You Need To Make This Pepperoni Pizza Casserole Recipe?
Pasta: We’ve opted for 16 ounces of uncooked pasta, and while penne is a classic choice, don’t be afraid to experiment with cavatappi or rigatoni! These robust pasta shapes are like little sponges, soaking up the marinara sauce and ensuring that each bite is as flavorful as the last. Plus, their hearty texture stands up beautifully to the cheese and pepperoni, ensuring a satisfying chew in every mouthful.
Marinara: A full 4 cups of marinara sauce lay the foundation for this dish’s saucy goodness. Whether you’re a fan of a particular store-bought brand or you have a secret family recipe, the choice is yours. Just ensure it’s rich, tomatoey, and packed with herbs to compliment the other flavors in the casserole.
Italian Seasoning & Red Pepper Flakes: These aren’t just spices; they’re the ticket to an authentic Italian flavor journey. A teaspoon of Italian seasoning brings a medley of basil, oregano, and thyme, while a pinch of red pepper flakes introduces a subtle heat, waking up your palate and keeping things interesting.
Pepperoni: With 11 ounces in play, pepperoni is the star of the show. The slices not only mingle with the pasta and cheese to deliver bursts of spicy, salty goodness, but they also create a glistening, irresistible topping. Remember, save about 35 slices for the grand finale on top!
Mozzarella: Four whole cups of shredded mozzarella ensure that every inch of this casserole is blanketed in a gooey, stretchy cheese paradise. It’s the mozzarella that brings the ‘pizza’ to our Pepperoni Pizza Casserole, creating a melty layer that bubbles and browns to perfection in the oven.
Steps To Make Pepperoni Pizza Casserole:
Step 1: To begin start by greasing a casserole dish measuring 9×13 inches with your cooking spray. Preheat the oven to a temperature of 375°F making sure the oven rack is positioned above the center.
Step 2: Next, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt to it. Add your chosen pasta. Cook it until it is slightly undercooked 2 minutes less, than what the package instructions suggest for al dente. Drain the pasta thoroughly. Return it to the pot.
Step 3: Now it’s time to combine all the ingredients. Pour in the marinara sauce sprinkle some Italian seasoning and add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the pasta. Remember to add about half of both pepperoni and mozzarella cheese into the mixture. Stir everything well until it is thoroughly combined.
Step 4: Transfer this mixture into the casserole dish spreading it out evenly. Finally, top it off with a layer of remaining mozzarella cheese and pepperoni slices for a cheesy topping.
Step 5: Place your casserole dish, in the oven. Let it bake for approximately 20 minutes or until you notice that the cheese has become bubbly and golden on top.
Step 6: For an added touch of perfection you can place it under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes. Keep an eye, on it as the pepperoni becomes crispy and the cheese takes on a golden brown color.
To give your Pepperoni Pizza Casserole a touch of flavor and a vibrant appearance consider sprinkling chopped basil or parsley on top just before serving. This not only adds a burst of freshness to complement the savory flavors but also enhances the visual appeal of the casserole making it even more tempting. Fresh herbs have a way of brightening up comforting dishes ensuring that each bite is as enjoyable, as the last one. Moreover, it adds a gourmet flair that is bound to impress your family or any guests seated at the table.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I make this casserole ahead of time?
Of course! You have the option to put together the casserole ahead, cover it tightly and keep it in the refrigerator for, up to one day before baking. Just remember to adjust the cooking time when you’re ready to bake.
Can I freeze this Pepperoni Pizza Casserole?
Absolutely! This casserole freezes wonderfully. Simply assemble the dish then cover it with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. It can be stored in the freezer for up to two months. Prior, to baking allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Can I add vegetables to this casserole?
Certainly! Feel free to include sautéed bell peppers, onions or mushrooms into the pasta mixture for a dose of veggies.
My name is Natasha and I am the owner of nodashofgluten.com, a blog dedicated to all kinds of recipes. On my website, you can find classic dishes, vegetarian delights, creative snacks, Gluten-free recipes, and desserts – all proving that cooking isn’t as hard as it seems! With easy-to-follow instructions and tips on how to make your meals even better, I strive to help everyone become master chefs in their own kitchen. Come join me at nodashofgluten.com for some delicious fun!