Deep State Kitchen – Pizza Casserole

Pizza Casserole

(comfortably serves 3-4)

What do you do when the kids want pizza and you want pasta? Pizza Casserole! It’s is easy to make, tastes great, and puts an awesome twist on dinner that you and your kids are sure to love!

This recipe is my own, and something I created while trying to figure out alternate use for a Pizza Sauce that I really like. That recipe is also included. So grab yourself a slice of pasta, crack open a cold one, and lets do this!


Tools

13 X 9 or Larger Pyrex Baking Dish or Large Baking Pan

Large pot for Cooking Pasta

Large Frying or Sauce Pan

Small Bowl

Ingredients

  • Lenny’s Spicy Pizza Sauce
    • 1 X 6oz. can of tomato paste
    • 3oz. of water
    • 1 tsp of oregano
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp of NON SMOKED paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp of ground fennel (optional)
  • 1 lb dry Bow Tie pasta (Farfalle)
  • 1 pouch of sliced pepperoni
  • 1 lb roll of Jimmy Dean Sausage
  • 4 or 5 sliced large mushrooms
  • 1 large chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1 small can of sliced black olives
  • 1 lbs package of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jar of cheap pasta sauce

Lets get Cooking!

We have to start by preparing Lenny’s Spicy Pizza Sauce ahead of time. It’s actually a modified version of Round Table Pizza‘s sauce, which I happen to think it’s fantastic and has a mild kick to it.

Mix the tomato paste with the 3oz. of water in a small bowl. Add in all of the pizza sauce spices listed above and mix thoroughly. You should end up with a small amount if of goopy red stuff that tastes pretty amazing when it sits. And that’s what we are going to do with it. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least and hour so the spices infuse into the paste.

Fill a large pasta pot with water and put it on high heat so that it will boil about the time we are done prepping everything else.

Preheat your oven to 350 °

Brown and crumble the sausage in a large frying or sauce pan. Drain off the excess grease and return the sausage to the pan. Chop up the onions and throw them into the pan with the sausage. Cook until the onions become translucent.

Pour the entire Jar of cheap pasta sauce into the sausage and onion mixture. I recommend anything cheap like Prego, Ragu, or Classico that doesn’t have any meat in it (because the meat makes it taste funky). The reason for the cheap brand sauce, is that it usually has some sugar in it so we don’t need to add any to our pizza sauce. Also the pizza sauce is so strong it will obliterate any flavor the Ragu brings with it.

Mix the entire batch of pizza sauce into the sausage and let it simmer a few minutes.

About this time the pasta water should be boiling. Add the Bow Tie pasta to the water and cook as directed on the package. Drain when done and set aside.


Putting it all together!

Spoon a very tiny amount of the sauce and sausage mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Just enough to make it dirty.

Pour 1/2 of the Bow Tie pasta into the dish and spread it out evenly.

Pour 1/2 of the sauce mixture over the Bow Tie pasta and spread it out evenly.

Evenly distribute 1/2 the package of shredded mozzarella cheese over the sauce.

Place pepperoni slices onto the cheese, side by side filling up the entire dish. When it’s done it should look like a dish of solid pepperoni.

Evenly distribute 1/2 of the mushrooms over the pepperoni slices.

Evenly distribute 1/2 of the Sliced olives over the mushrooms.

Repeat the entire process, except this time use 1/2 less pepperoni or the dish will end up kind of greasy.

Cook the Pizza Casserole in the 350° preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.

Serve with breadsticks or garlic bread.


Bonus Tip

Lenny’s Spicy Pizza Sauce is a thick and rich sauce where a little bit goes a very long way. Spread very thinly on a pizza crust crust, for homemade pizza or anything else you might want to use pizza sauce for. It holds up quite well even when thinned out as we did in today’s recipe for pasta dishes. You can even freeze it in smaller potions if you want to use it later as a base to kick up soups, stews, chili’s and other sauces.

Side note: The picture used, is a slightly different version where I also used yellow peppers and kept the sausage separate from the sauce. I have since found it easier and tastier to combine the sausage and sauce ahead of time as in this recipe. 

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